Online, catalogue and stores retailer N Brown is looking to connect with the digital start-up industry through the launch of a new innovation incubator programme.

JDWorks, which launches this summer, is expected to connect N Brown with digital start-up companies across the world in a bid to drive the group's digital capabilities. 

"This will...accelerate our adoption of new ideas and technologies," the company says. "In turn, the start-ups will benefit from all that we have to offer as one of the UK's leading multichannel retailers."

N Brown, owner of the Jacamo, Simply Be and JD Williams brands, says further details will be announced in the coming weeks. 

The start-up is similar to the JLAB tech accelerator launched by department store retailer John Lewis in 2014, and comes amid a transformation project at N Brown to move away from the company's catalogue retailing towards digital and online.

The retailer last week revealed a pre-tax profit of GBP72.2m (US$103.9m) for the 12 months to 27 February, from GBP78.3m a year earlier, reflecting exceptional costs largely incurred in the first half. Revenues rose 3.5% to GBP866.2m, but gross margin fell 10 basis points to 55.7%.

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