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House of Fraser's Biba takes £300,000 in first week

House of Fraser said that its Biba brand, which launched last week, took £300,000 in its first week on sale, making it the department store’s most successful brand launch to date.

The department store said that the successful relaunch of the brand, which it bought in November, meant it had become the department store group’s biggest womenswear label.

Chief executive John King added that in the ten days since Biba launched in stores and online at on September 9, the brand netted £500,000.

Own-brands are key to House of Fraser’s strategy and the department store wants its own-brands, which include Linea, Episode and Therapy, to account for between 30% and 40% of the sales mix within three years, compared to 11% now.

Sales of own brands - dubbed house brands at House of Fraser - climbed 62% in the 26 weeks to July 31, when the group’s gross transaction value rose 5.5% to £480.6m.  EBITDA rose 22% to £13m.

Like-for-likes advanced 8.4% in the period, and in the first seven weeks of the second half improved to 10%.

King described the first-half performance as strong and said: “We are very encouraged by the strong demand for our house brands from customers and particularly pleased with the recent launch of Biba. We expect to see the improving margin impact as these become a larger part of our sales mix.”

House of Fraser, which was taken private in 2006, reported that online sales rocketed 150% in the first half and that debt levels were cut.

The retailer expects its first franchise store to open in Abu Dhabi in 2012 in partnership with Retail Arabia.

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