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Fashion drives HoF's best Christmas performance

House of Fraser has reported its best-ever Christmas, with like-for-like sales up 7.3% for the three weeks to December 28, thanks to strong fashion sales both in store and online.

Online sales rocketed 57.7% while stores grew sale s3% in the period, with record sales in Glasgow, Belfast and Oxford Street, up 10.6%, 8.3% and 6.9% respectively.

Fashion was the strongest performing category, rising 9.8%, with HoF’s in house brands climbing 22.8%.

The performance has helped the department store, which is expected to float later this year, build cash gross margins by 11.9% in the three weeks.

It has also contributed to a strong final quarter for the department store, with like-for-likes up 4.3% and cash gross margins up 8.7%.

It follows a more muted third quarter performance, in which like-for-likes rose just 0.8%.


Readers' comments (2)

  • House of Fraser’s increased sales during the Christmas period points to the strength of the brand’s offering and that it has inspired genuine affection in its customers. However, it is interesting to note that the increase was due in large part to a jump in online sales, with online expansion coming at the expense of in-store sales. Indeed, whilst online sales rocketed by 57.7%, store growth lagged behind with a comparatively small 3% rise. This is hardly surprising given the increasing digitalisation of retail, but stores still have an important role to play in the customer journey. Consumers are still looking for a shopping experience where they can see and feel the products before making a purchase, something which online retail simply doesn’t offer.

    House of Fraser has already started implementing this by trialling '.com' stores in Aberdeen and Liverpool where consumers can buy products online. This buy and collect experience gives customers the interaction with the product they want and couples it with their desire to shop online. Clearly, House of Fraser is making sure the customer stays at the heart of every move it makes.

    Daniel Todaro, MD at Gekko

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  • HOF is incredibly patchy. Some of there 'B' and 'C' grade stores has an air of apathy about them with disinterested staff, dire product mix, poor presentation with the 'unfavoured' brands and lacking the foresight of knowing what works - and what doesn't - in certain areas of the country.

    Online is getting them out of a hole they need not be in, but they are not a flagship retailer in anyones book until they start getting the essentials right.

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