Belfast Telegraph

Web fuels a record Christmas for House of Fraser

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

House of Fraser has reported a record Christmas trading period boosted by a strong performance from "Black Friday" promotions at the end of November.

The department store chain said like-for-like sales were up 8% for the six weeks to January 3 with profit margins also ahead. Over the first 10 weeks of the fourth quarter, like-for-like sales grew by 6.7%.

There was no information on the performance of specific stores, including the flagship House of Fraser in Belfast's Victoria Square.

It is the latest solid retail update after the festive period following figures from Next and John Lewis and comes ahead of Marks & Spencer, which is due to report on its Christmas performance tomorrow.

The House of Fraser figures showed online sales for the six-week period led the way with 31.2% growth, while stores also improved with a like-for-like increase of 4.2%.

Black Friday online sales were up by more than 125% on the previous year and 70% on the previous largest online sales day, in further evidence that the US-imported retail phenomenon has taken hold in the UK.

The success of the day appeared not to have depressed performance in the seven days before Christmas, which saw record sales.

It is House of Fraser's first festive trading update since its £480m takeover by China's Sanpower, which completed in September.

Chief executive John King said: "We are delighted with our Christmas trading performance. This year we saw a very strong start to the key Christmas season, with Black Friday being particularly successful.

"This positive momentum continued over the entire critical selling period with a record sales level during the final week before Christmas.

"Our performance demonstrates the success of our strategy."

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