Fortnum & Mason profits up 26% despite “the most challenging domestic retail backdrop in years”

Fortnum & Mason profit up 26% despite “the most challenging domestic retail backdrop in years”
Fortnum & Mason achieves rise in sales and profits despite tumultuous trading at home and abroad.
// Historic luxury brand Fortnum & Mason posts 12% rise in sales across business
// Hong Kong store debuts without launch party
// CEO says “It’s not our place to get overly political” over Hong Kong protests

Luxury retailer Fortnum & Mason posted a 26 per cent rise in profits in the full year to July 14, despite trading through “the most challenging domestic retail backdrop in years”.

Sales across Fortnum’s business were up 12 per cent to £138 million, with like-for-like sales at Fortnum’s flagship store in London’s Piccadilly up 6 per cent.

READ MORE: Fortnum & Mason bags Luxury Retailer of the Year award

Online sales rose 13 per cent year-on-year, while sales at Fortnum’s travel shop at St Pancras International were up 15 per cent.

The past 12 months have signalled international expansion for Fortnum’s, with its launch in Hong Kong just a few days ago – its first standalone store in Asia.

However, widespread political protests in the city have meant the retailer opened without the usual fanfare of a luxury brand’s arrival overseas.

“An extended period of peace will help,” said Fortnum chief executive Ewan Venters to Sky News, adding that he expected sales at their Hong Kong location to be ahead of the budget by January.

When asked about the strategy of opening in Hong Kong during such troubling times, Venters told reporters: “It’s not our place to get overly political. We are an English brand that goes out into the world to sell tea, biscuits and jam.”

“We are continuing to trade as we would normally but we are being respectful of what is going on in the country – there was no launch party for example as it just wouldn’t have felt right,” Venters added.

“Ours is a business that celebrates the very best, be it food, drink, joy-giving gifts or indeed experiences. We are a traditional British business with a truly global outlook, and I am proud that people’s appetite for our brand is increasing around the world,” said Fortnum’s chairman Kate Hobhouse, speaking on the results as a whole.

“We continue to serve our customers both at home and abroad, in person and across our digital platforms, and I am excited to see how the business can build on its recent success in the year ahead,” Hobhouse added.

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