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House of Fraser reports strong Christmas trading

House of Fraser has defied the mild weather and posted a 5.3% rise in like-for-like sales for the six weeks to January 2.

Gross margin over the festive season was up 6.4% year on year, with margins up 40 basis points due to a reduction in discounting at the department store group.

On Black Friday (November 27 2015), total sales were up 10% on 2014. It was the group’s biggest ever sales day online, up over 40% on last year.

During the seven days before Christmas, like-for-like sales excluding VAT were up 6%, with online up 61.8% and bricks-and-mortar stores up 2.2%.

In the seven days after Christmas, like-for-like sales excluding VAT were up 6.8%.

Chief executive Nigel Oddy said: “This year, we saw a very strong start to the key Christmas season with Black Friday being particularly strong online, with sales up 40% on the year – our biggest online day ever.

”Our stores have also performed well over the festive period, in particular our recently refurbished stores which showed strong growth in the final week before Christmas.

“The performance demonstrates the success of our ongoing strategy: to continuously improve our online proposition; to develop our house brands and premium brand proposition and work closely with our concession partners; and to invest in our stores to provide our customers with the best possible shopping experience.

”Over the period, we have seen a record performance from our market leading buy-and-collect service, increasing by 22% on last year, highlighting the strength of our award-winning multichannel business.”

Frank Slevin, chairman of House of Fraser, added: “The strong trading performance delivered by the business is a testament to the strategic direction the board has set for the business and the ongoing investment in the group.”

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