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N Brown Comparable Sales Rise; Catalog Deliveries Slow

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- N Brown Group Plc, the U.K. catalog company that owns underwear shopping site, said comparable sales rose, even as sluggish mail deliveries curbed orders in the two weeks after Christmas.

Sales on that basis gained 1.2 percent in the 19 weeks ended Jan. 8, excluding Figleaves sales, the Manchester, England-based company said today in a Regulatory News Service statement. N Brown expects to meet analysts’ forecasts of 96 million pounds ($150 million) to 99 million pounds in pretax profit for the year ended in February, Chief Executive Officer Alan White said in a telephone interview.

N Brown said it wasn’t hurt as much as many U.K. retailers by weather last month, the coldest December in at least a century. In October, it said online sales surpassed telephone orders for the first time.

“Snow is usually quite good for delivery companies; the impact would have been post-Christmas,” White said. “Royal Mail struggled over the Christmas period; we’ve seen some new-season catalogs get delayed.”

White said a venture introducing its Simply Be brand to the U.S. is so far “encouraging.” N Brown started selling in August to the U.S., the world’s largest home-shopping market, where it sees a gap in fashion-conscious large-sized clothing.

It will ship a “couple of million” catalogs in the first fiscal half, up from a million between August and the end of November, he said.

N Brown shares fell 3.2 pence, or 1 percent, to 307.5 pence at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, giving the company a market value of 862 million pounds.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Altaner in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge in London at

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