Fat Face’s stance against discounting pre-Christmas delivered 7.9% growth on full-price sales for the 54 days to 24 December 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.
The retailer introduced its ”Price Promise” in November that guaranteed it would not discount products before the winter Sale started on Boxing Day.
Chief executive Anthony Thompson told Drapers the reaction from shoppers about the initiative was “overwhelmingly positive” and in-store sales trumped online during the period, bucking the wider trend on the high street.
“We had lots of signage in the windows, dotted around the stores and at the tills and it really resonated with our shoppers. They trust the brand and we came out of the Christmas season a lot cleaner [in terms of carrying stock] than previous years.”
Fat Face had a record week of full price sales in the week to Christmas Eve and had 22% less inventory going into Sale than 2015 meaning it could launch the first drop of its spring range two weeks early.
On Boxing Day the lifestyle retailer closed 10 of its stores under a new trial. Thompson said he plans to repeat the trial across further stores for Christmas 2017.
“We won’t know the final numbers until we come out of Sale next week as we need to check the sell through of the stores that were closed compared to the rest of the estate and weigh that up against the cost of operating the stores.
“However, having travelled to several stores on the day itself the decision to close is the right one for some smaller, local stores where only a handful of shops are open anyway.”
In the US the firm’s four shops performed ahead of targets for their first Christmas period and a further six stores are planned in the market over the next 12 months.
Despite the difficult trading environment and inflation, Thompson said the business will be “resilient” in 2017.
“Undoubtedly currency will be the biggest headwind this year and clothing prices will have to go up. For us that will be between 3% and 5% for spring. However given our renewed energy to further enhance our quality and design and to offer our customers better yarns means we will be resilient. We will become even stronger in a weaker market.”