House of Fraser reports Christmas cheer

Department store chain House of Fraser said this morning that it enjoyed a successful Christmas trading period, with like-for-like (LFL) sales including VAT up 11.1 per cent year-on-year for the five weeks to December 31st 2011.

A statement released by the retailer indicated that it achieved a record sales performance in December, with revenues up 17 per cent annually during the week up to and including Christmas Eve.

LFLs for the nine weeks to December 31st increased 3.6 per cent, continuing the strong growth achieved by the business throughout 2011.

Online is now House of Fraser‘s largest ‘store‘, and sales in the five weeks until New Year‘s Eve were 124 per cent higher than compared to the same period one year before.

In recognition of the rapid expansion of the retailer‘s multichannel platforms, House of Fraser recently agreed a deal with DHL Supply Chain which involves its Milton Keynes warehouse becoming a facility dedicated solely to the business‘s online operation.

Don McCarthy, Chairman of House of Fraser, commented: “We are pleased with the positive sales performance in the critical Christmas trading period.

“The strong Christmas sales performance demonstrates the success of House of Fraser‘s strategy to invest in the store portfolio, our online offer and to further develop House Brands alongside our brand partners to provide a premium offer to our customers.”

Despite the success of recent weeks, McCarthy is anticipating a difficult year ahead and his business has adopted a cautious approach in preparation of the expected tough retail climate.

“This has been a difficult season, starting with the warmer weather in the autumn and excessive high street discounting throughout the period,” he explained.

“Overall, this together with the slowing UK economy and weaker consumer confidence has had an adverse effect on sales and put greater pressure on margins. We believe that 2012 will continue to be very challenging for the general economy and consumer confidence.”


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