House of Fraser, the UK and Ireland’s premium department store group, provides an update on its best ever Christmas trading period.
Trading highlights include:
- Like-for-like sales (ex VAT) for the first 9 weeks of the fourth quarter up 4.3% and cash gross margins up 8.7% driven by a rate increase of 140 basis points.
- Best ever Christmas trading period, with like-for-like sales (ex VAT) for the 3 weeks to 28 December 2013 up 7.3% and cash gross margins up 11.9%;
- Positive sales performance in stores, up 3.0% for the 3 weeks to 28 December 2013, with record sales performance in Glasgow, Belfast and Oxford Street, up 10.6%, 8.3% and 6.9% respectively;
- Record breaking online sales, up 57.7% for the 3 weeks to 28 December 2013, with Beauty sales up 77.0%;
- Sales growth delivered in all routes to market with a particularly strong performance in House Brands, up 22.8% for the 3 weeks to 28 December 2013; and
- Sales growth delivered in all categories, with a particularly strong performance across Fashion up 9.8% with Beauty and Home also up 6.7% and 1.1% respectively for the 3 weeks to 28 December 2013.
John King, CEO of House of Fraser said:
“We are delighted with our Christmas trading and are pleased to report another record performance despite a more competitive environment. November trading was strong, in terms of both sales and margin growth, with a similar promotional programme. As we expected, the peak Christmas trading came late, however it was the best we have ever recorded.
We remain clearly differentiated with our leading branded fashion offer representing approximately two thirds of our sales. We are particularly pleased that this key part of our business was up nearly 10% over the peak period and clearly outperformed the market.
This performance demonstrates the success of our strategy to continuously improve our online proposition, develop both our House Brands and premium branded proposition and invest in our stores to give our customers the best possible shopping experience. I would like to thank all of our staff and brand partners for their hard work and support over this period.
With the record sales and margin performance in the period and a close focus on operational efficiencies, we expect to report a further growth in full year earnings. Given the sales performance, we also expect to finish the year with a cleaner stock position and lower net debt and are well placed to deliver further growth in 2014.”