N Brown, the fashion e-tailer, has recently announced its full-year financial results for the period ending in February. Although the results showed a decline compared to the previous year, the company remains optimistic about its future prospects. Group revenue fell by 13%, amounting to £728.8 million, with product revenue down 14.4% to £468.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA also dropped by almost 19%, reaching £86.5 million, while the adjusted EBITDA margin slightly decreased to 11.9%. Furthermore, the statutory pre-tax profit fell by over 72%, totaling £30.1 million.

Despite these setbacks, N Brown managed to maintain a relatively high number of website sessions, even with a significant reduction of 55.7% in marketing spend. The company attributes this success to its ability to quickly adapt to customer demands during the pandemic, particularly by focusing on products like home office and garden supplies.

The decline in conversion rates during the financial year can be attributed to more customers engaging in browsing activities rather than making purchases. In response, N Brown shifted its focus from clothing and footwear to home and gift products. Additionally, the company observed price sensitivity within the clothing and footwear categories.

While the results may appear disappointing, N Brown emphasizes the progress it has made in its transformation journey. The company successfully completed a £100 million equity raise and experienced an improvement in product revenue throughout the year. In the first quarter, there was a nearly 26% decrease in product revenue, but by the fourth quarter, the decline had narrowed to only 4.3%. Moreover, the strategic brands that N Brown has been prioritizing achieved a growth of 1.3% in the final quarter.

CEO Steve Johnson expresses cautious optimism and highlights the early signs of progress that the company is seeing. N Brown’s strategy is focused on rationalizing its brand portfolio and prioritizing its star brands, which include inclusive fashion and beauty brand Simply Be, men’s equivalent Jacamo, JD Williams, Ambrose Wilson, and Home Essentials. By reducing its brand portfolio by 25% and shutting down underperforming brands like Figleaves, N Brown has streamlined its offerings.

To support this strategy, the company has refreshed the creative style across its apparel brands, aiming to establish stronger brand identities and clearer propositions. This involved launching new campaigns and increasing its presence on social media platforms. N Brown reported a significant increase of 27% in revenue generated through social media channels and gained 1.9 million new followers on Facebook and Instagram, with 14% of them being new followers.

In the future, N Brown plans to prioritize the acquisition of new customers, especially in its core target segments where it is currently under-represented. The successful equity raise has provided the company with the means to invest more in brand-building activities and targeted digital and social campaigns. Social media will play a vital role in promoting Simply Be and Jacamo, while broadcast campaigns will be prioritized for JD Williams and Home Essentials. N Brown also aims to improve its product offerings, pricing structure, and sustainability initiatives. It has already implemented Bloomreach technology, which employs machine learning and AI to personalize the shopping experience. The company anticipates further upgrades to its websites in the upcoming year.

Sources:
– N Brown: [link](https://www.nbrown.co.uk/investors/)
– Bloomreach technology: [link](https://www.bloomreach.com/)