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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Jon Robinson

Mike Ashley's Frasers Group further increases stake in N Brown

Mike Ashley's Frasers Group has further increased its stake in fashion firm N Brown.

The retail empire has upped its stake to over 18%, according to a newly-filed document with the London Stock Exchange.

The move further strengthens its position as N Brown's second-largest shareholder.

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Frasers Group, which owns the likes of Sports Direct and House of Fraser, first invested in the Manchester-headquartered company in October 2022 before upping it in the following month and then again in January this year.

N Brown's largest shareholder is the Alliance family who have led the company since Lord David Alliance acquired it in 1968.

Frasers Group's other brands include Game, Jack Wills and Evans Cycles. The group is now run by Mr Ashley's son-in-law Michael Murray. N Brown's brands are JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo.

Other shareholders in N Brown include UBS Asset Management, Monecor (London), Schroder Investment Management, Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management and Norges Bank Investment Management.

In February this year, shares in N Brown's spiked to their highest value since January 2022 after Frasers Group increased its stake most recently.

However since then, its shares have steadily fallen from almost 43p to almost 24p.

N Brown made a statutory losses of £71.1m for the 12 months to March 4, 2023, compared to a profit of £19.2m in the prior year. Its revenue also fell from £715.7m to £677.5m over the same period.

In January, N Brown revealed it was to pay nearly £50m to settle a claim from Allianz Insurance.

In June, the group blamed "poor early spring weather and low consumer confidence" for its continued fall in revenue.

The company posted a revenue of £148.7m for the first quarter of its financial year, the 13 weeks to June 3, 2023. That total is down almost 10% compared to the same period in 2022.

However, N Brown added that the impact on its revenue has been partially offset by higher average item values, and "we saw an improving product revenue trend across the quarter".

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