Clothing & ShoesCoronavirus

N Brown secures new funding as sales drop 25% since lockdown

Jacamo, JD Williams and Simply Be owner N Brown has revealed it has secured a new £50m funding facility as it looks to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which saw its sales fall by 25% over the last six weeks.

In a trading update the company said it has seen “significant” growth in its home and gift categories, up 74%, but “continued weakness” in apparel sales, down 48%, with offline sales declining “significantly more” than digital sales.

While it added that its performance has improved from the “sudden and significant” decline it had experienced in March the group said it has also taken “decisive action” to maximise operating efficiency and preserve its liquidity.

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It said it has done this through a combination of continued operation of its distribution centres; an 80% reduction in marketing expenditure; a reduction in capital expenditure; furloughing 30% of its staff across the business; recruitment and salary freezes and voluntary pay reductions from April to June from its senior leadership.

N Brown said it has also secured a new three-year facility of up to £50m and widened covenants to an existing £125m revolving credit facility. It also has secured a facility of up to £500m and an overdraft facility of £27.5m.

Steve Johnson, CEO, said: “In what remains a very uncertain environment, we have been balancing our number one priority of looking after our colleagues, with a commitment to continue serving our loyal customers, whilst ensuring the business has the resilience to navigate the various challenges we are facing.

“Our colleagues and suppliers have shown fantastic dedication and demonstrated real agility amidst difficult conditions, and I am extremely grateful for their hard work.”

He added: “We are pleased to have secured support from both our banking partners and the Government’s loan scheme, which help to strengthen our financial position and gives us the flexibility and certainty to manage through this challenging period. In addition, the immediate and substantive actions we took at the very outset of this crisis have supported our working capital positively in this period.

“We have a unique portfolio of brands and products which appeal to a range of customer groups who can also benefit from our flexible payment options. As we further develop and improve our offer, we remain confident in the long-term prospects for the business as we emerge from these challenging times.”

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