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House of Fraser Christmas sales up 8% and margins up 9%

House of Fraser has reported that its like-for-like sales (excluding VAT) for the Christmas trading period increased by 8% and cash gross margins by 9%.

For the six weeks to January 3, which started during the week of Black Friday, the department store chain grew online sales by 31.2% while bricks and mortar stores were up by 4.2% on a like for like basis.

The retailer, which has 59 locations across the UK and Ireland and two small concept stores, said sales were up across all categories and channels, with a particularly strong performance from house brands, which were up by 11.2%.

On Black Friday itself (November 28), online sales were up by more than 125% year on year and up nearly 70% on the previous largest online sales day.

Sales during the last week before Christmas were up by 6.8% and showed an improvement in the gross margin rate.

For the first 10 weeks of the fourth quarter, like-for-like sales (ex VAT) were up by 6.7% and cash gross margins were up by 7.5%.

Chief executive John King said: “With the record sales and margin performance in the period and a close focus on operational efficiencies, we expect to report a further growth in full year earnings.”

Following the completion of the £4m refurbishment of the Jolly’s in Bath, the department store reported sales increased by 27%.

As such, House of Fraser will refurbish more stores in 2015, as well as continuing to invest in its online proposition and expanding its international portfolio.

“Given this further investment, we believe that we are well placed to continue to grow in 2015,” said King.

The group’s annual sales (ex VAT) for 2013/14 were £1.2bn.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Better % results than John Lewis then?

    Will it be steal from M&S and Debenhams?

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  • Hard to say what these figures really mean until the end of year accounts as HOF and profit aren't usually words that go hand in hand.

    I've visited several of their stores - mainly 'b' grade - over the past few months and they still have the problem of discounting too much stock, too often. Coupled with a chronic lack of staff and lack of product knowledge for the ones that remain.

    Brands would have a fit if an Indie displayed like HOF does with the non staffed branded areas, you wonder how they get away with it?

    In short, despite these 'figures' HOF doesn't know whether it wants to be a Premium store or Debenhams.

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  • Bit of an insult to Debenhams! They have no illusions who and what they are.
    I totally agree with your comments. Bad service, bad stock ,bad discounting but big distribution on 90 days payment.
    Think that says it all reference the state of the business in the U.K. .

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