Belfast Telegraph

Surging online demand drives House of Fraser sales 2.7% higher

Department store chain House of Fraser has revealed a Black Friday boost as it said surging online demand helped lift festive sales by 2.7%.

The retailer, which has 59 stores across the UK and Ireland, said the like-for-like sales hike over the six weeks to December 31 came after a "very strong" online performance across its six-day Black Friday event in November.

Website trade accounted for 41% of Black Friday sales, while the group also saw record trading over the key two weeks to New Year's Eve.

Its sales rise marks a turnaround after the group warned over high street conditions in September following a 2% drop in sales over the eight weeks to September 24.

Chief executive Nigel Oddy said: " We are very pleased to report a solid overall performance this Christmas, driven in part by very strong online demand over Black Friday and good Boxing Day week sales."

He added the group's recently refurbished stores helped drive sales higher over the festive season, signalling an end to the disruption that dragged on trade last year.

Chairman Frank Slevin said the group had kicked off its overhaul in 2016 as it braced for a "challenging retail environment".

"As we look forward to 2017 and beyond we must continue to adapt as the retail sector evolves," he added.

Total sales over the Black Friday event also rose 2.7% year-on-year.

The firm, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group, said beauty gifts notched up the strongest sales performance over Christmas.

House of Fraser has emerged as one of the winners over the key selling season, showing rival Next a clean pair of heels.

Next warned over sales and profits last week after a dismal Christmas performance.

Fellow high street bellwether Marks & Spencer will post its keenly awaited numbers on Thursday.

House of Fraser recently opened its first standalone shop in China under a plan to build its brand in the Asian powerhouse.

It is setting up shop in Sanpower Plaza in the commercial zone of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province.