UK's N Brown may close 20 stores on receding footfalls

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Fashion company N Brown, which operates the Simply Be, Jacamo and High & Mighty clothing brands, is considering shutting up shop.

The company is the latest fashion retailer to announce a raft of store closures in recent months, following New Look, which announced it would close stores in Stockport and Bolton as part of a move to cut shop numbers by 60.

In 2017, the stores generated an underlying loss of £3m.

The Company anticipates that the consultation process will be completed around the time of our half year results in October.

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Total online revenue increased 3 percent and power brand online revenues were up 9 percent.

This action has not been taken lightly and we will do all we can to support the colleagues affected during this process.

Meanwhile, given what it called continued very disappointing footfall, and despite significant cost efficiencies being achieved, N Browm says it is today (14 June) entering into a consultation with store colleagues to consider closing its 20 stores ahead of lease expiry.

Last year, the stores - which focus on "speciality fit" clothing for larger sizes and shorter and taller people - generated £15million of sales, which is just 2% of group revenue.

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N Brown, based in Manchester, has been in business since the 1850s.

The company had a 0.4% dip in group revenue and 2.8% drop in product revenue in its Q1 report.

Targeting younger shoppers, Jacamo for men and Simply Be for women are among N Brown's main brands. "Should the decision be taken to close all 20 stores, we anticipate an exceptional cost of £18m to £22m, of which approximately half will be in cash". "This will underpin our future growth, both in the United Kingdom and internationally", CEO Angela Spindler said.

JD Williams' sales fell 2%, while Simply Be and Jacamo's sales rose by 9.3% and 2% respectively.

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"N Brown has closed a few locations in recent years but considering the necessity of all its stores is wise and will enable the retailer to adapt to shifting consumer spending habits, protecting long-term growth", she adds.

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