Dec 23, 2020
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N Brown moves to AIM listing after it raises fresh cash

Dec 23, 2020

Online retailer N Brown has completed its equity fundraising and has moved its listing from the London StockExchange’s main market to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) instead.

Simply Be/N Brown

The company said Wednesday that its planned £100 million fundraising is complete with the owner of the JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo brands using the money to invest in the business and pay down unsecured debt.

David Alliance, the company’s’ biggest shareholder underwrote the transaction. Lord Alliance now owns 40% of the business and a group that includes his son Joshua controls 52%. Joshua is also now on the board as a non-executive director.

The company said earlier that raising the money would allow it to continue to build the business, despite the many issues in the wider retail environment. In fact, the new cash should help it accelerate its strategic investment plans as it continues to transition from an omnichannel model to a pureplay online one.

Like most others in the fashion retail sector, N Brown has been hit hard by the pandemic. Late last month it reported an 18% turnover drop for the six months to August and a 25% plunge in pre-tax profits.

N Brown isn't the only company to have raised new funds this year. In the face of the Covid crisis, accessing new cash has been a key focus for many companies, both from a point of weakness and of strength.

Some have made use of emergency government-backed loans in order to maintain their liquidity as a matter of survival, while others have been using new financing to help them continue with their investment strategies. And some of the strongest companies in the UK fashion sector – such as Boohoo Group – have used new financing to help them build up a war chest that could allow them to make strategic acquisitions as many distressed brands come up for sale.

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