Belfast Telegraph

Five Simply Be and Jacamo outlets to close

Plus-size retailer N Brown is to close up to five loss-making stores as it grapples with business rates hikes and lower high street footfall.

The company said the decision to shut up to five Simply Be and Jacamo outlets takes into account "weak high street footfall, both current and predicted, together with significant future business rate increases for some stores".

N Brown made the announcement alongside a trading update, which showed first quarter sales rose 5.6%, driven by a strong ladieswear performance.

Online revenue accounted for 71% of total sales, up 4 percentage points year on year.

Chief executive Angela Spindler said: "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."

Last week the firm announced Andrew Higginson is to step down as chairman after almost five years in order to "pursue opportunities in private equity".

N Brown said Mr Higginson will remain as chairman during the search for his replacement and through what it called "an orderly handover period".