Online House of Fraser lift

HOUSE of Fraser, the department store chain recently sold for £48m, yesterday announced adjusted earnings of £8.6m for the first half, boosted by a 29 per cent rise in online sales.

Like-for-like sales rose 4.2 per cent to £542m for the six months to 26 July and the earnings figure was well up on the £7.5m this time last year.

Net debt fell to £218.2m at 26 July from £225.6m a year earlier.

Chinese group Nanjing Cenbest completed an 89 per cent acquisition of the 59-store chain this month, while Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley retained his 11 per cent share.

Chief executive John King said: “As a business, we are committing £150m of investment in the UK over the next four years to further improve the shopping experience for our customers, through better store environments and developments to our online platform.”