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House of Fraser in good shape for challenging 2017, says CEO

House of Fraser chief executive Nigel Oddy has said the department store group is in a good position for the “challenging” year ahead, following a solid Christmas performance.

HoF reported a 2.7% increase in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 31 December, driven by online Black Friday and Boxing Day Sales.

Oddy told Drapers he was pleased with the group’s performance in a difficult retail environment and he expects the momentum to continue into next year.

“We had another record Christmas and, in this challenging market, that’s great. The [market] is not going to change for all the reasons we know about, so we need to focus on what we’ve done well and continue to build on that.

“We’re a multichannel business, we’re continuing to invest in new brands, develop our people and improve our service. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing well.”

Online performed strongly over the Christmas period and accounted for 41% of all sales during HoF’s six-day Black Friday event.

Online now accounts for more than 20% of all HoF sales, compared with 16% last year.

In-store sales were “marginally down” on last year over the festive season, which was the best performance for bricks and mortar in several years, said Oddy.

During the last two years HoF refurbished 12 of its 60 stores across the UK and Ireland. 

Gifting performed well during the period, and men’s and women’s accessories sold well, said Oddy.

Overall, the bestselling fashion brands included Jigsaw, AllSaints and Ted Baker.

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