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HoF sales and profits edge up in third quarter

House of Fraser saw its third quarter like-for-like sales edge up just 0.8% on last year, with online sales driving much of the department store’s growth.

For the 13 weeks to October 26, gross profit margin rose 180 basis points to 36.8%. Adjusted EBITDA rose to £1.7m from £1.6m last year. Year-to-date EBITDA has grown marginally to £9.2m, up from £9.1m at the half year point.

The business grew online sales by 31.1% - a cumulative increase of 46.2%, which has helped drive the company’s like-for-like sales to a 2.5% rise so far this year.

The third quarter results come against tough comparisons from last year, when the business grew 5.4% in the same period.

However, a number of improvements to the group’s online service, including the launch of a new digital in-store concept in Edinburgh, and the trial of a “queue-busting” check-in system for Buy & Collect customers, as well as store refurbishments in stores including Oxford Street, helped drive sales both online and in store.

HoF’s own brand labels such as Linea, Label Lab and the recently relaunched Army & Navy menswear range, continued to show strength, with sales up 4.6% in the third quarter and 10.2% year-to-date.

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