House of Fraser posts steady growth in first half


Premium department store group House of Fraser have posted solid sales figures for the first half of the year to 27 July 2013.

Total gross turnover rose to £552.1m and like-for-like sales (ex VAT) inched up 3.3 per cent as the group, which has annual sales of 1.2bn, invested in its online proposition including a new mobile site, iPhone app and buy & collect delivery service.

There was a solid performance from stores refurbished last year, with Oxford Street recording sales growth of 10 per cent and online sales (exc VAT) increasing by 57 per cent.

John King, Chief Executive of House of Fraser said: “We are pleased to report another solid set of results with increasing success in our key areas of online and House Brand development. We took deliberate action to continue to invest in our multi-channel and House Brand businesses which has meant higher costs in the first half resulting in EBITDA being level.

“However, we expect that this investment will deliver growth for the second half. We remain confident that the Group‘s business model, with our premium brand positioning, growing House Brand mix and multi-channel operations, positions us strongly for the foreseeable future.”

The news comes as the group announced it would trial a new ‘virtual queuing‘ system for customers waiting to collect from its Buy & Collect service earlier this month. The seven day service for time poor customers has an order cut off time of 7pm while the home delivery service‘s cut off time is at midnight.