// Fortnum & Mason sales rise during Christmas
// Online sales in December rose 65% after the government announced working from home guidance
// The retailer was able to add 500,000 new digital customers over the year
Fortnum & Mason has reported strong sales during the crucial Christmas trading period despite the impact of the pandemic.
In the full year to July 2021, F&M’s losses before tax were at £2.7 million, down from a £600,000 profit the previous year.
The upmarket department store blamed “the impact of temporary store closures, higher supply chain costs and the continued decision to now draw on government’s furlough relief”.
Turnover also fell 6% in the period to £132 million off the back of nine months trading with tiered restrictions and lockdowns combined with “sharply lower domestic and international footfall” to its five stores.
Despite the impact of Covid-19, F&M reported a 21% year-on-year increase in sales for the five weeks to December 26, 2021.
Online sales in December rose 65% after the government announced working from home guidance.
Across the year, online sales accounted for 55% of all revenues with the greatest demand being seen in wine, home entertainment, fresh and deli food, and hampers.
The retailer was able to add 500,000 new digital customers over the year.
“I have been so impressed with the agility of the Fortnum’s team as we reacted to a first-changing world and in particular the performance of our digital channels,” Fortnum & Mason chief executive Tom Athron said.
“As a direct result, we have expanded the brand’s reach and welcomed many new customers and encouragingly this trend has continued since we reopened our shops and restaurants in the summer of 2021 – we now have a domestic business that has almost doubled in size over the pandemic.
“Christmas was exceptionally strong as customers put us at the heart of their plans to properly celebrate.
“Looking ahead, the broader outlook remains uncertain and we are seeing the same cost pressures materialise, as others in our market have reported.
“However, I am confident that 2022 will be an exciting year for Fortnum’s, building on this momentum with continued investment in our Piccadilly flagship as well as our technology capabilities and increased capacity to support the growth in demand, both here and overseas.”