Majestic department store Fortnum & Mason has announced record breaking full-year profits.
The luxury food and gift retailer today reported sales of £74.4m, a 14% increase for the year up to July 2014 and its highest profits in Fortnum & Mason’s 307 year history.
Profit before tax was at £3.8m, more than double the £1.8m the retailer made last year.
In November 2013, Fortnum & Mason opened its first new store in the UK at St Pancras International station and in March this year, the first standalone store outside Britain in Dubai. Last week, a new store in Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport opened and although more stores are expected, they will be a small, select number.
With a new strategy that will focus on local Londoners rather than international customers, Fortnum’s profited from online sales which increased by 25%, hamper sales by 18% and tea sales by 13%.
Ewan Venters, Chief Executive for Fortnum’s since 2012 told City A.M: “It’s been a historic year, these are the best profit before tax results we’ve ever had. I think the key factor is that we’re appealing to more Londoners. We’ve got more of them coming into the store to use the shop as a regular place to buy their tea, cheese, beef and so forth.
A key part of our focus over the last two years has been about how to re-engage Londoners. For two or three decades Fortnum’s had become somewhere solely for the international visitor. And what we’ve done is remind people that Fortnum’s exists for the local people, and that’s been by improving both quality and range.”
What started as a grocery retailer that became reputable for supplying quality food, saw growth in the 19th century and developed into a department store - now with a gentleman’s department on the top floor of its flagship store in Piccadilly.
Fortnum’s hasn’t reported record profits since the beginning of the century, before it was taken private by the Canadian Weston family (who own British department store chain Selfridges, which Venters headed up prior to joining), in 2001.
Venters said the store is optimistic about Christmas, which makes up over 70% of its annual profits. As the sales from British customers increase, so sales have spread throughout the year.
“We’re little by little getting back to the point where people are using us a regular shop for their luxury grocery items and their gifting” Ventors has been quoted saying.