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HoF sees online business surge

House of Fraser has seen a surge in online sales in its first quarter of 2013, up 62% on the same time last year.

This powered the department store business’ overall growth, with sales up 4.8% in the three months to April 27. Its online performance is above budget so far.

House of Fraser said current trade has remained strong, albeit growth has slowed to 4.3% on a like-for-like basis in the first 20 weeks of the financial year.

But this was not mirrored in HoF’s physical store business, with independent analyst Nick Bubb noting it was “not doing anything for profits” as a result.

Gross profit rose to £84.8m over the 13 weeks to April 27, a £3.3m rise on the first quarter last year.

Bubb added: “HoF need to do John Lewis’ trick of getting like-for-like growth in stores as well as online.”

In a recent Close Up with HoF’s executive director of womenswear Allan Winstanley, it emerged that online sales make up 20% of the total takings in womenswear, and that 35% of online sales come from the business’ Buy & Collect platform.

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