The retailer posted the profit increase despite seeing revenues dip 1.8% reflecting a 0.6% reduction in product revenue and a 4.0% reduction in Financial Services revenue.
Strategic brands product revenue also increased 9.9%, which it said reflected the “benefits of strategic change and strong clothing and footwear performance”.
In addition, it posted Adjusted EBITDA of £95.0m, up 11% YOY, with the increase in financial Services margin “more than offsetting” costs annualising against the initial Covid-19 related reductions, and investment in brand building.
It also confirmed operating costs as percentage of group revenue of 36.0%, lower than equivalent pre-pandemic level (FY20: 39.8%) as efficiencies and cost flexibility were retained.
Steve Johnson, chief executive, said: “I am pleased with our continued progress in transforming N Brown into a more focused digital business, with a distinct and improving offer across our strategic brands.
“Our strategic brands returned to growth in the year with growing customer numbers. As we move forward, we are evolving our priorities to concentrate our growth focus on Simply Be, JD Williams and Jacamo, where we seethe strongest market potential.”
He added: “The work we have done means we are significantly better placed than we were before the pandemic and, although cautious in the short-term due to inflationary impacts and consumer behaviour, we remain confident that over the medium-term our strategy will support the delivery of 7% product revenue growth with a 13% EBITDA margin.”