House of Fraser records "best ever" Christmas

House of Fraser has recorded its “best ever” Christmas trading period, as like-for-like sales and margins grew over the festive period.

Over the three weeks to 28 December, the company said like-for-like sales grew 7.3%, while cash gross margins grew to 11.9%.

Over the first nine weeks of the fourth quarter, like-for-like sales grew 4.3% and margins grew 8.7%.

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The company reported “record breaking” online sales, up 57.7% over the three weeks to 28 December.

Fashion sales grew 9.8% over the three-week period.

“We are delighted with our Christmas trading and are pleased to report another record performance despite a more competitive environment,” said House of Fraser CEO John King.

“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.”

He added that the department store operator remains “clearly differentiated” with its leading branded fashion offer, representing approximately two-thirds of 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.”

The company expects to finish the year with a cleaner stock position, and lower net debt, making it “well placed to deliver further growth in 2014,” added King.

There have been rumours that the company is in late stage talks with French retail giant Galeries Lafayette to sell the company.

 

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