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Full-price buoys Fat Face trading

Fat Face has posted an 8% increase in like-for-like sales for the five weeks to 6 January, after extending its festive closing times.

The retailer held firm to its full-price policy in the run-up to Christmas, including refusing to take part in Black Friday discounting.

Total sales were up 12% on last year during the five-week period, while ecommerce soared by 24%. International sales were up 49% and wholesale rocketed by 60%.

Fat Face chief executive Anthony Thompson told Drapers that the retailer will be launching its spring 18 ranges in stores a full week ahead of schedule, after clearing stock in its “largest-ever” week of sales in the week beginning 30 December.

He added that the business will consider expanding its Boxing Day store closure programme to include around 50 to 60 stores this year.

He said: “Our trading performance over the Christmas period has been strong on all fronts. We continue to believe that giving our customers price integrity before the big day has been central to this performance.”

Fat Face shut 40 stores on Boxing Day – four times more than during last year’s pilot, when 10 shops shut on the day. Its winter Sale period starts on the same day. 

It also closed stores at 2pm on Christmas Eve to prepare for its Sale period, marking the first time the retailer shut its doors earlier than its high street rivals on the day.

The retailer trialled two gifting pop-ups during the Christmas trading period, in Wimbledon and Harpenden.

For the 26 weeks to 2 December, total sales grew 12% to £120m, compared with the previous year, while like-for-like sales were up 7%. Total EBITDA climbed by 8% to £14.9m.

Online sales grew 27% to represent 18% of overall sales, while international sales were up 61% to £5.5m.

The retailer expects to open three stores in the US next month, bringing its total there to six.

The retailer launched a distribution centre in Havant during the period, as well as a new online platform and website in late November.

Thompson said: “We’re growing on all fronts, and have lots of plans for the second half of the financial year. It’s an exciting time for the business.

“We’ve sped up our store openings in the US and growing our wholesale and concessions business with our partners. There are also still good opportunities for our store [portfolio] in the UK, which we’ll continue to enhance and grow.”


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