House of Fraser has reported a 6.5% year-on-year increase in turnover to £574.2m for the 26 weeks to August 1, while gross profit rose 5.8% to £204.7m.
Online sales grew by 30.8% and now represent 17.5% of total sales, up from 14.2% last year. Like-for-like sales in bricks-and-mortar stores were up 2%. Adjusted EBITDA for the first half increased 7% to £9.2m.
The Sanpower-owned department store group said sales were up across all categories, with own label brands up 2.1% year on year, brands up 7% and concessions up 6.7%. Menswear and home were the strongest performing sectors, up 10.5% and 7.8% respectively.
During the period, HoF Fraser boosted its digital offer by introducing a midnight cut-off for its next day click-and-collect service. It also updated its iPhone app to include the ability to scan barcodes in store.
HoF refurbished stores in Huddersfield and Lincoln earlier this year and is updating its shops in the Intu MetroCentre in Gateshead, the City of London, Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and Leeds city centre before Christmas. The group will also anchor a new shopping development in Rushden Lakes in Northamptonshire, due to open in 2017.
A second international franchise store on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, opened in June and the first HoF store in China will open in 2016.
HoF said August was “challenging”, but it saw an improvement in sales in September resulting in a 5.1% increase in like-for-like sales for the first 33 weeks of the year. The business said it was “optimistic” for the autumn season.
Chief executive Nigel Oddy said: “Both stores and online have delivered positive sales and margin growth, building on the performance we have seen in both these channels in recent years, demonstrating the truly multichannel nature of our business.
“We have continued to invest in our UK business to remain at the forefront of retail innovation by developing our multichannel offering, enhancing our store portfolio, growing house brands and introducing exciting premium brands [including Victoria Beckham jeans]. This focus on our key strategic pillars has also been reflected in our current trading.
“We continue to make progress on our international expansion plans and remain excited by our future growth opportunities both in the UK and abroad.”
The group successfully refinanced with the issue of a £175m floating rate note alongside a new £125m term loan to refinance its original £250m fixed-rate bond. It also secured a new £100m revolving credit facility to replace its original £85m facility.