LONDON — British department store chain House of Fraser on Tuesday reported an 8 percent uptick in same-store sales, excluding value-added tax (VAT), in the six weeks to Jan. 3, which it called a “record” Christmas trading period.
The group — which earlier this year was acquired by Nanjing Cenbest, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group — said that cash gross margins during the period climbed 9 percent.
Online sales for Black Friday more than doubled, rising 125 percent compared with the previous year, while online sales, excluding VAT, were up 31.2 percent on the previous year, with same-store sales at brick-and-mortar stores rising 4.2 percent.
John King, chief executive officer of House of Fraser, singled out the store’s Black Friday sales as “particularly successful,” adding that “this positive momentum continued over the entire critical selling period with a record sales level during the final week before Christmas,” he said. House of Fraser said that during that week, sales rose 6.8 percent.
For the first 10 weeks of the fourth quarter, same-store sales excluding VAT advanced 6.7 percent, the firm said, with gross margins up 7.5 percent. King said that in light of the results and “a close focus on operational efficiencies,” the firm expects to report a further growth in full-year earnings.
“We will continue to invest in our online operation and as a result we expect to see sales growth from this channel,” said King, adding that alongside online, the firm plans “to refurbish more stores during 2015 as well as build on our international portfolio.”