Our website uses cookies

Cookies enable us to provide the best experience possible and help us understand how visitors use our website. By browsing Essential Retail Magazine, you agree to our use of cookies.

Okay, I understand Learn more

N Brown to launch data and analytics training programme for staff

N Brown has said it is looking to to open up the use of data and analytics across its entire organisation.

The retail group, which owns companies such as JD Williams, Figleaves and Simply Be, is developing a data fellowship programme which aims to empower employees to embrace data science and how it is applied in business.

Working alongside technology educator, Decoded, and professional training company, Corndel, N Brown said it is “a fantastic opportunity to upskill more of our colleagues."

Marks & Spencer is working with Decoded on a similar venture, which was announced earlier this year.

The Data Fellowship is fully funded by the Apprenticeship Levy, which was created by the government to help upskill the UK workforce, but has also come in for criticism due to the associated added cost burden it has put upon retailers.

All employees across the business will have the opportunity to enrol on the initiative, which runs for 18 months from February 2019, and they will learn about programming language “R” and gain an understanding of machine learning. Those who complete the course will end up with a data analytics qualification accredited by the British Computing Society.

Gareth Powell, director of data science at N Brown, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to upskill more of our colleagues in data science from a mindset and technical perspective.

“Data is now ingrained in online retail and is a fundamental pillar for the future growth of N Brown. Decoded provide world class data analytics training and I’m hugely excited by the partnership and the transformative effect it will have.”

N Brown is on a multi-year digital transformation path, shifting from a business that was traditionally heavily reliant on catalogues into an online retailer. Earlier this year, it announced the closure of its 20 stores as part of its digital-first strategy.

First-half results for the 26 weeks ended 1 September 2018, announced in October, showed a business that was battling for sales, with product revenue excluding the now-closed stores, decreasing by 3.1% to £304.5 million.

The company is also searching for a new CEO after Angela Spindler stepped down from the role, in September.

Matt Davies, N Brown chairman, said: “Whereas much progress has been made transforming the business into an online retailer, we have not yet achieved the growth in product or international that we would have hoped for and have decided to rebase the dividend to a more sustainable level from which we will seek to grow.”

What’s Hot on Essential Retail?