N Brown Group Plc, the home shopping group which specialises in larger and more mature women, has reported a 16.3% hike in first half pretax profit, in line with expectations.

For the six months to 26 August, profit before tax was GBP29.2m (US$54m) compared with GBP25.1m in the same period last time.

Turnover rose 11.8% to GBP255.8m, with like-for-like home shopping sales up 10.2%. Just over one-fifth of total sales were placed over the Internet the group said.

"With a strong start to the second half, despite increasingly tough comparators, we remain optimistic for the outlook for the full year," said chairman Lord Alliance.

An interim dividend of 2.19 pence was proposed.