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House of Fraser’s e-tail development continues


Department store group House of Fraser (HoF) is to sell its products on eBay’s Fashion Outlet, it was announced today.

The move, which will see the retailer join brands including Superdry, Jigsaw and Ted Baker, is the latest in the group’s plans to develop and grow its multichannel presence.

ChannelAdvisor’s Marketplaces platform has signed a deal with the company to develop the initiative, and the campaign is to feature a social media element as part of eBay’s focus on its Facebook offering.

HoF recently reported that multichannel sales had risen 130 per cent in the second quarter ending July 30th 2011 compared to the same period last year, following an annual increase of more than 50 per cent in the number of brands it sells online.

Online strategy has been the leading focus for the retailer in recent times, and earlier this year an increase in the size of its distribution network further emphasised the importance of its e-commerce focus.

The company’s existing distribution centre in Milton Keynes is now dedicated solely to items purchased via its website following a deal with DHL Supply Chain worth £85 million.

Search engine optimisation has been a further point of focus for the group, after appointing consultancy Greenlight earlier in the year to devise and implement its search strategy initiatives.

All in all, House of Fraser has had a strong year despite growing concerns over the economy’s lack of buoyancy.

In the second quarter ending July 30th 2011, gross profit improved by £4.4 million compared to last year to total £94.9 million, whilst like-for-like (LFL) sales grew by 5.3 per cent year-on-year during the first half of 2011.

Sales of its own brand items rose by 32 per cent in the half while online trading jumped a staggering 107 per cent after a successful redesign of the company’s website.

Boosting brand presence through online and digital offerings is increasingly popular, and HoF CEO John King feels that investment in the area is crucial for continued success.

“We believe that our investments in our multichannel operations and store refurbishments combined with our exclusive House Brand offering, will continue to deliver growth,” he said last month.

Over four million customers visit the eBay Fashion Outlet site per month, hoping to secure discounts of as much as 70 per cent on certain brands.

It is this financial incentive that has contributed to transaction volumes for the site growing 30 per cent year-on-year over 2010, a figure welcomed by Vice President of Fashion for eBay, Miriam Lahage.

Speaking last week, Lahage pointed to the growing popularity of the fashion category as the online marketplace unveiled a new advertising campaign to promote the outlet.

“We’re attracting growing numbers of shoppers to our fashion category as consumers want to choose from a huge selection of products, from the brands they know and love, at great prices,” she explained.

It is expected that this move will build on HoF’s existing successes in the e-commerce sector, as the company seeks to promote its wide range of fashion products, including the four new House Brands introduced this year - Label Lab and Howick tailored in menswear, and Shabby Chic and Kenneth Cole in the home department, making a total of 16 brands now exclusive to the retailer.

The deal to work alongside eBay will further increase web visibility and boost customer engagement and comes during the busy run-up to Christmas.

Last year saw the group report its best ever trading activity for the Christmas period, with LFL sales rising 8.5 per cent year-on-year.

A number of technology-driven launches by the company have taken place during 2011 and so it seems that the retailer is well-placed to sustain its positive growth in the months ahead.

Published on Monday 10 October by Editorial Assistant

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