Simply Be, Jacamo retailer to close up to five stores as online sales advance

Plus size fashion retailer N Brown Group has revealed plans to close up to five Simply Be and Jacamo stores due to weak footfall and significant business rate rises.

Together, these five stores contributed £5m in revenue but accounted for the entire £2m operating loss of N Brown’s store estate in FY17, the company said.

The stores, which sell clothing, underwear and swimwear, are set to close by the end of August at a cost of £10m to £14m.

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The move comes despite N Brown posting an uplift in sales for the first quarter, driven by strong online sales of its womenswear brands.

Group revenue rose 5.6% in the 13 weeks to June 3 and product revenue was up 10.2%.

Online revenue 16%, with 71% of revenue now generated online, up four percentage points year-on-year.

Product revenue across N Brown’s secondary group of brands, which includes Figleaves and Marisota, was up 5.4% in the first quarter.

N Brown CEO Angela Spindler commented: “We are pleased to report a good Q1 performance, with continued momentum across all of our brands and categories. Ladieswear and Simply Be in particular had a very strong period, with good responses to our Spring/Summer campaigns, leading to further market share gains.

“As a result of ongoing weak footfall in some locations, and with a clear focus on driving financial returns across all areas of our business, we will be closing up to five loss-making stores.

“Although the outlook for consumer confidence remains uncertain, our offering is resonating with customers. At this early stage in the financial year, trading is on track to meet our expectations. We continue to invest in our customer proposition and remain very confident in our future growth prospects.”

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