N Brown considers closing up to 20 stores, putting 270 jobs at risk

Multi-brand retail group N Brown is set to close 20 stores, putting 270 jobs in doubt.

The group, which owns JD Williams and Simply Be, entered into a consultation with staff on Thursday, saying that weak footfall on the high street meant it had to close stores.

The consultation concerns 12 dual-brand Simply Be and Jacamo outlets, as well as eight High and Mighty stores.

The company expects to incur a one-off cash cost of between £18 million and £22 million if it closes all 20 stores.

The outlets affected will be shut ahead of their lease expiry date and bring in around 2% of N Brown's revenues, generating £15 million in the 2018 financial year.

Angela Spindler, N Brown's chief executive, said: "In line with our online strategy, and given continued weak high street footfall, we have today commenced a consultation process with colleagues over the future of our small store estate.

"This action has not been taken lightly and we will do all we can to support the colleagues affected during this process."

For the 13 weeks to June 2, N Brown's revenue from its retail brands fell 2.8%.

JD Williams' sales fell 2%, while Simply Be and Jacamo's sales rose by 9.3% and 2% respectively.

N Brown's financial services revenue was up 9%, and group revenue edged up 0.4%.

Online sales, which generate 75% of N Brown's revenue, grew 3%.

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