House of Fraser has ramped up its transformation programme since appointing Alex Williamson as its CEO in May 2017, with the aim of moving from a transactional customer experience to one that is an “experiential lifestyle-led relationship”.
Under Williamson’s leadership, the retailer opened a new store for the first time in nine years at Rushden Lakes shopping centre in Northampton in August, and its Sutton Coldfield store has received its first major refurbishment since the 1980s.
Lingerie, womenswear and menswear departments at Sutton Coldfield all underwent a full modernisation, with new flooring, lighting and fitting rooms.
At the same time, House of Fraser closed its loss-making stores in Leicester and Aylesbury.
The group has also embarked on a £18 million investment in its distribution centre, of which £10 million has been provided by its majority shareholder, to increase capacity, drive operational efficiencies and improve profitability.
This project is expected to deliver £15 million in efficiency savings by the time it completes in mid-2018.
House of Fraser’s sales and profits took a hit in 2017, following the £25 million re-platforming of its website under the transformation programme, but the retailer is confident that its turnaround plan will pave the way to success.
“Our new House Brand Womenswear collections for Autumn/Winter have been launched and our customers’ response to date has been very encouraging. Our new web platform greatly improves our customers’ experience and online margins whilst our investment in the distribution centre will deliver cost savings through improved operational efficiencies.
“And this is just the start of our journey, with several other projects designed to provide additional sales and costs savings as part of the overall Transformation Programme.”
Alex joined House of Fraser from Goodwood, the group behind the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed, where he had been chief executive since December 2012.
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Company: House of Fraser
Address: 27 Baker St, Marylebone, London, W1U 8AH
Tel: 0845 602 1073
Focus: Fashion retail