Haverhill: Online retailer Figleaves performing to plan, says owner N Brown

CATALOGUE and online shopping group N Brown said today that the wettest April to June period on record had hit sales of ladieswear.

The company behind brands such as Figleaves and High & Mightly said like-for-like sales in the 17 weeks to June 30 were ahead 1.9%, lifted by menswear, footwear, lingerie and home.

However, ladieswear revenues have been lower than expected, primarily due to the unsettled weather, which has led to a 1% lower rate of profit margin than anticipated.

Demand in menswear, footwear, lingerie and home had mainly been for value lines and discounted items, the group added, but it is expecting an improvement later in the year as it plans to put out lower stock volumes, which will reduce sales of excess goods, and lower input prices stimulate demand.

N Brown said that online lingerie, swimwear and nightwear retailer Figleaves, which operates from a customer service and warehouse centre in Haverhill, was performing according to plan. The business, acquired by the group two years ago, achieved a profit in 2011 for the first time in its 13-year history.

Lord Alliance of Manchester, who created the N Brown group by pulling together a number of catalogue businesses, announced yesterday that he plans to stand down after more than 40 years as chairman, with chief executive Alan White also retiring in the second half of 2013.

“We have come a long way from the Manchester mail order business I bought in 1963 and today more than half our sales are online,” said Lord Alliance.