Belfast Telegraph

Welcome site for House of Fraser

By Annabelle Dickson

House of Fraser rode the wave of shoppers logging on over the festive period as it reported its "best ever" Christmas performance.

The department store said sales were up 6.3% in the six weeks to January 5, with online revenues up 48% in the period as increasing numbers of customers used their mobile phones and tablets to shop on the internet.

Belfast's Victoria Square Shopping Centre last week said its House of Fraser reached record sales between Saturday December 22 and Monday December 24.

House of Fraser, which has 60 department stores, said it sold 45,000 pairs of shoes and 40,000 handbags a week in the period, up 19% and 16% respectively.

And the 160-year-old company's house brands, such as homeware and fashion label Linea and men's clothes brand Howick, were up 10%.

House of Fraser, which has 7,300 staff plus 11,000 concession employees, said online sales were bigger than any individual store after the relaunch of its website and opening of "click and collect" stores in Aberdeen and Liverpool.

Chairman Don McCarthy said: "There is no doubt 2012 was a challenging year in retail and it remains difficult to predict when economic conditions and consumer sentiment will improve."

The group said menswear performed particularly strongly in the period, up 7.4% overall and 8.6% in its own brand range.

Fashion accessories also fared well, up 17.5% in the period, helping push overall like-for-like sales up 5.2% in the first 10 weeks of its fourth quarter.

Rival John Lewis, which reported strong Christmas trading last week, also said sales were boosted by its online offering.

Its website broke through the £800m barrier during December, after a 44% rise in sales year-on-year.