Black Friday boost and online surge give House of Fraser a happy Christmas
Wednesday was a good day for UK retail as more businesses reported strong Christmas period trading than weak. And House of Fraser was among them.
The UK department stores giant, which recently opened its first branch in China, said it had a healthy Christmas trading period, starting from the week of Black Friday. Like-for-like sales (excluding VAT) in the six weeks to January 2 were up 5.3% against the comparative period last year and up 16.7% against 2014.
On Black Friday, total sales were up 10% on the previous year and it was also the group’s biggest ever online sales day, up over 40% on 2015. And it seems to have maintained the strong trading through the season with the seven days before Christmas seeing like-for-like sales up 6% and a positive performance from both online (up 61.8%) and physical stores (up 2.2%). Twelve of its stores delivered their best ever sales and the company said its own labels saw sales rising 4.5%
House of Fraser’s cash gross margins rose 6.4% year-on-year during the six-week period with an increase in the margin rate of 40 basis points and it has also seen continued momentum in the weeks after Christmas. Like-for-like sales rose 6.8% during the seven days starting December 26.
CEO Nigel Oddy said he was pleased that both online and stores did well with the company’s recently refurbished stores showing particularly strong growth in the final week before Christmas. He also highlighted a 22% increase in its click and collect service.
House of Fraser has 60 across the UK and Ireland and is majority owned by China’s Nanjing Cenbest. It has annual sales of £1.3bn.
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