Home shopping company N Brown Group said it enjoyed a 7.9% rise in turnover from continuing operations during the 20 weeks ended 15 July.

N Brown, which earlier this month said it will buy the share capital of women's wear catalogue retailer Gray & Osbourn, said sales within the core home shopping business grew 9.4%. Within home shopping, all core customer and product groups improved, N Brown said.

"Our drive to keep tight control of stock levels is proving successful…This has been achieved by more aggressive in-season markdowns which will reduce the rate of gross profit in the first half by 0.55," N Brown said.

"As we highlighted at the year-end, the comparatives with last year's strong results will get increasingly demanding as the year progresses."

It added: "However, the board has confidence that the plans for the autumn/winter season developed by the management team will deliver further progress in the current year."