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House of Fraser Profits Climb for Fiscal Year

Online sales, excluding VAT, rose 41 percent in the period, and represented 12.2 percent of overall sales.

LONDON — House of Fraser said Tuesday that adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 8.3 percent to 60.2 million pounds, or $100.7 million, in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The British department store chain, a privately held company that is set to be acquired by China’s Sanpower Group later this year, released its unaudited, partial results for the fiscal year ended Jan. 25.

The company said it plans to release its final, audited year-end financials following a board meeting scheduled for April 29. All figures have been converted at average exchange for the 12-month period.

The company said like-for-like sales, excluding value-added tax, rose 3.6 percent, and were “in excess” of 1.2 billion pounds, or $2 billion. Online sales, excluding VAT, rose 41 percent in the period, and represented 12.2 percent of overall sales.

In the first 11 weeks of the current fiscal year to April 12, sales advanced 3.3 percent, with a further improvement of gross margin above the full year’s 36.1 percent.

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“The improved performance has been driven by the continued success of our key strategic pillars. Our online business has performed exceptionally strongly and has substantial future potential,” said John King, the store’s chief executive officer. “Sales of our house brands grew significantly in the year, and we achieved our highest house brand gross margin rate to date. We have strengthened our relationships with our brand partners and continued our collaborative approach to improving store environments.”

Regarding House of Fraser’s new owners, King said, “The management team and I are really looking forward to working closely with Nanjing Cenbest and the wider Sanpower Group” to enable House of Fraser to develop domestically and internationally.

There was no conference call on Tuesday, and the store’s principals made no further comment regarding the sale to Sanpower. In the results statement, executive chairman Don McCarthy confirmed that he planned to step down as soon as the sale is complete later this year.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sanpower Group released information to the Shanghai Stock Exchange in relation to its plans to acquire the majority of shares in House of Fraser via its subsidiary Nanjing Cenbest.

On Saturday, Nanjing Cenbest confirmed it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire 89 percent of House of Fraser, in a deal that values the latter at around 480 million pounds, or $804.3 million at current exchange.