HOME shopping firm N Brown today posted a 12.6% hike in annual profits after weathering a tough year for retailers, but said 2010 will be "no less challenging".
The Manchester-based company - which has catalogues including Simply Be, Marisota and Jacamo - reported underlying pre-tax profits of £93.1 million for the year to February 27 after adjusted sales rose 3.3% on a like-for-like basis.
The group said sales growth continued in the new financial year, with comparable sales 3.1% ahead during the eight weeks to April 24.
But it cautioned of further pressure on consumer spending and the impact of rising inflation, which it said will impact on input costs due to the weakness of the pound and lead to higher commodity prices.
Alan White, chief executive, said: "The outlook for the UK economy over the next year remains uncertain, whatever the outcome of the general election, as increased taxation and reduced public expenditure are bound to impact disposable incomes."