Was it a tale of weather woes at House of Fraser this Christmas? Not a bit of it. The department store chain that’s now owned by China’s Nanjing Cenbest had a grrrreat six-week Christmas trading period with comparable sales excluding VAT up 5.3%.
OK, that didn’t match the 8% rise of a year ago but hey, given the weather – too warm, too wet, no snow – it was pretty amazing.
Comp sales rose 6% in the seven days before Christmas with online surging 61.8% and even the stores managing a 2.2% rise. Twelve of its stores delivered their biggest-ever sales.
And in the week after Christmas, comps rose a powerful 6.8%.
And stepping back a few weeks, did Black Friday work for HoF? Again, the answer is a resounding YES. Total sales rose 10% on the year and November 27 was the group’s biggest-ever online sales day.
Oh, and additionally, cash gross margins were up 6.4%.
The company can be forgiven for feeling smug today. CEO Nigel Oddy said: “The performance demonstrates the success of our ongoing strategy: to continuously improve our online proposition; to develop our house brands and premium brand proposition and work closely with our concession partners; and to invest in our stores to provide our customers with the best possible shopping experience.
“Over the period, we have seen a record performance from our market leading Buy & Collect service, increasing by 22% on last year, highlighting the strength of our award winning multichannel business.”