Fashion retailer N Brown has revealed a return to profit in its first half as an online push starts to pay off.

The group behind brands Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams saw shares leap 8% higher as it posted pre-tax profits of £18.8 million for the six months to August 31, against losses of £27.1 million a year ago.

Revenues dropped 5.4% to £432.9 million, but the group saw combined online sales grow 5% across womenswear and menswear.

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It said online now accounts for 84% of its business, up from 80% in the previous financial year.

Chief executive Steve Johnson said: "We announced our new strategy in May to return N Brown to sustainable profit growth and we have made good progress over the first half of the year.

"The retail environment remains heavily promotional, but we are concentrating on continuing to improve our customer proposition and ensuring we operate as efficiently as possible."

On an underlying basis, pre-tax profits lifted 4% to £31.8 million.

Dunelm has hailed a "particularly strong" first quarter after it boosted sales on the back of new store openings and online growth.

However, shares in the company sank in early trading after it warned that trading in September was "mixed" due to a "softer homeware market".

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The retailer posted a 7.5% rise in total sales to £262.6 million for the three months to September 28, while like-for-like sales increased by 6.4% to £255.6 million over the period.

Dunelm hailed its "strong" performance during the period as it delivered gains in market share against a "weak" comparative period in 2018.

The company reported a jump in online sales and said the launch of its new digital platform will be an "important milestone" in the company's development.

Online sales increased by 34.7% to £35.7 million for the period, while like-for-like store sales increased by 2.9% to £219.9 million.

Property site OnTheMarket has seen half-year losses widen and said woes in the sector caused by Brexit uncertainty are "undoubtedly" taking their toll.

The group reported pre-tax losses of £7.1 million for the six months to July 31, against £5.7 million a year earlier, but revenues lifted 14% to £8 million.

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However, since the first half, it has seen tough housing market conditions hold back progress in signing up estate agents to long-term paying contracts - leading to a surprise warning over results last month.

OnTheMarket said it has now introduced lower-cost, shorter paying contracts, which are proving more appealing to under-pressure estate agents.

Chief executive Ian Springett said: "Our recent guidance indicated that agents had not committed to full-tariff, long-term paying contracts at the pace expected; however, they have responded positively to the changes to our offering."