Catalogue group sees sales falter

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The Independent Online

NBrown, the retailer of plus-sized clothes, said sales growth was subdued because pre- and post-election uncertainty had caused shoppers to rein in spending.

The Manchester-based group, which operates home shopping catalogues including Simply Be, Marisota and Jacamo, said like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to 3 July were just 0.1 per cent higher than the same period a year ago. At the end of April, like-for-like sales had been 3.1 per cent higher year on year. "Trading since the election has been subdued as customers assess the likely impact on their personal situation of the coalition Government's new policies," the company said. It was able to increase its market share in women's clothing and footwear, even though sales as a whole to customers of size 16 or more, or over 65, had fallen.

Freddie George, an analyst at Seymour Pierce, said the figures were a "little disappointing" but said it had scope for growth through its recent acquisition of brands such as High and Mighty and Figleaves.