N Brown Group

N Brown Group plc
Public (LSE: BWNG)
Industry Home shopping
Founded 1859
Headquarters Manchester, England
Key people
Lord Alliance, Chairman
Angela Spindler, CEO
Revenue £818.0 million (2015)[1]
£81.2 million (2015)[1]
£49.4 million (2015)[1]
Website www.nbrown.co.uk

N Brown Group plc (LSE: BWNG) is a British home shopping business based in Manchester, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. It trades as a home shopping retailer under several names, including JD Williams, Jacamo, Simply Be and High and Mighty.


The oldest company within the group was founded by James David Williams in 1859 when he started in business operating three mobile shops.[2]

The company flourished, but the family connection was broken when the Williams family interests were bought out by Alliance Brothers Limited in 1963.[3] Other catalogue companies were purchased, and the holding company for these became N Brown Investments.

In 1970 the Company, then still called JD Williams, was wholly acquired by Sir David Alliance who reversed it into his property company N Brown Group plc.[4]

In a joint venture with Northern and Shell,[5] owners of the Daily Express, on 21 October 2004, the company launched the Express Shopping Channel.[6] This closed in 2005.[7]

In 2007 the Company won the Manchester Evening News "Business Of The Year" title for businesses with a turnover exceeding £50m.[8]

The company bought online underwear retailer Figleaves for £11.5 million in 2010.[9]


The company focuses each of its brands on a section of the fashion-buying public traditionally ignored or poorly served by the UK high street. The company's catalogues target women aged 30 and above, with a particular focus on those over 50, and usually those of a larger frame.

Current brands include Fashion World, Gray & Osbourn, House of Bath, Jacamo, Marisota, Oxendales, Simply Be, JD Williams, Premier Man, Fifty Plus, Williams & Brown and High & Mighty.


Two of the major shareholders, Lord Alliance and Nigel Alliance, sit on the board.


The business has its operational Head Office in Manchester's Northern Quarter and has warehousing and distribution centres in Shaw and Crompton, in Greater Manchester,[10] and Hadfield in Derbyshire. Gray & Osbourn is based in London, House of Bath is based in Bath while Oxendales is based in Dublin and High and Mighty is based in Newbury. The company has entered into long running contracts with Teleperformance, an outsourced call centre in Airdrie, who handle orderline and customer service calls, and ResQ in Hull, who fulfill these roles as well as an outbound team that calls existing customers and offers a discount on catalogue prices if they choose to place an order with them.


  1. 1 2 3 "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). N Brown Group. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  2. "Manchester Commerce, Businessmen and Entrepreneurs". manchester2002-uk.com. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  3. "N Brown Group plc - Home". nbrown.co.uk. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  4. N Brown's outsize appeal Management Today, 1 September 1991
  5. Northern & Shell owner to call TV venture Express Shopping Channel Marketing Week, 21 October 2004
  6. N Brown trials TV shopping again Red Orbit, 7 August 2006
  7. Annual Report 2006 Page 14
  8. Feddy, Kevin (6 November 2007). "Business of the Year Awards: N Brown joy". Manchester Evening News. M.E.N. Media.
  9. N Brown buys Figleaves for £11.5m The Independent, 16 June 2010
  10. N Brown: Fufilment Logistics/Shaw Operations Centre

External links

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