N Brown Group Plc, the Manchester based direct home shopping group, held its Annual General Meeting in Manchester today. At the meeting all six ordinary resolutions and all eight special resolutions, including the approval of a capitalisation issue of one new ordinary share for each ordinary share held, were passed by shareholders. Sir David Alliance CBE, chairman, gave the following trading statement to the meeting: "In May, when we made our preliminary announcement, I referred to a 6% increase in our turnover for the first 10 weeks of the current year. I am pleased to report that this rate of growth has been maintained during the last 8 weeks. In line with the board's stated strategy, referred to last year, turnover of homewares, electrical products and from our younger catalogues has been especially strong. "The rate of gross margin is similar to that of last year and stock levels are being tightly managed. We have a number of initiatives in progress to develop our business for the future and are continuing our efforts to reduce costs and improve service. "I am pleased to say that Zendor.com, our recently announced fulfilment company, is progressing well and in line with our expectations. We are working with a number of companies, including New Look and River Island, on their distance shopping strategies. We are also in the advanced stages of negotiation with several other companies, including multi-national retailers as well as manufacturers who are proposing to sell direct to the consumer. "Ladies and Gentlemen, our management has in the past demonstrated an innovative and flexible approach to growing the business in difficult conditions. I am confident that this ability will enable us to respond positively to a tough retail climate and I feel sure we can look forward to further progress this year."