N Brown, the well-known online retailer behind brands like JD Williams, Simply Be, and Jacamo, has reported a decline in sales during the autumn and Christmas trading season. However, there are indications that the company is moving in the right direction and making progress.

According to N Brown’s latest trading update for the third quarter, which covered the 18 weeks leading up to January 2, group revenue fell by 8.8%. Although this represents a decline, it is an improvement compared to the significantly larger falls of 21.9% and 13.4% recorded in the first and second quarters, respectively.

During this period, product revenue also decreased by 8.9%, though again, this is an improvement compared to earlier in the year. The company’s “other” brands, including Fashion World and Marisota, experienced a more significant decline of 26.1%. However, its strategic brands, such as JD Williams and Simply Be, only saw a slight decrease of 1.4%. This suggests that the strategic brands are close to achieving a sales increase, especially considering they had experienced significant declines in the previous quarters.

N Brown attributes the recovery of product revenue to the impact of Covid-19 and the changing customer trends during the third quarter. The company observed strength in leisurewear and nightwear sales within its core Apparel division. However, it also saw declines in sales of dresses, formalwear, and swimwear. Interestingly, Home & Gift sales accounted for 42% of product revenue, compared to 32% in the same period the previous year.

One of the positive developments for N Brown was the performance of JD Williams and Home Essentials. The company experienced growth in online customer accounts for these brands, as well as for Simply Be and Jacamo. Additionally, marketing costs were significantly lower, contributing to a strong overall performance. N Brown states that it remains on track to meet expectations and expects to deliver adjusted EBITDA of between £84 million and £86 million for FY21.

N Brown’s CEO, Steve Johnson, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the company’s core brands and emphasized the importance of prioritizing employee well-being while adjusting to the changing external environment and meeting the needs of loyal customers. Johnson also highlighted the company’s focus on executing its strategy of simplifying and strengthening its core brand proposition and improving its digital capabilities. Despite the challenging macroeconomic backdrop, these efforts are generating positive momentum for the business.

While N Brown has experienced a decline in sales, it is evident that the company is making progress towards recovery. With its strategic brands showing signs of stability and growth, along with its focus on digital transformation and cost management, N Brown is well-positioned to navigate the dynamically changing retail landscape and continue effectively serving its customers.

[Useful Link 1](https://www.nbrown.co.uk/) <- Official website of N Brown. [Useful Link 2](https://www.simplybe.co.uk/) <- Website of Simply Be, one of N Brown's strategic brands.