Fortnum & Mason reports record profits as it boosts local footfall

Ollie Gordon
Iconic British food and gift retailer Fortnum & Mason has been in business for 307 years
Iconic food and gift retailer Fortnum & Mason reported record full-year profits today on the back of its strategy to attract more local Londoners into the shop.

For the year up to July 2014, the 307-year-old retailer increased sales by 14 per cent to £74.4m and boosted profit before tax to £3.8m – more than double the £1.8m generated last year.

Hamper sales increased by 18 per cent, tea sales by 13 per cent and online sales by 25 per cent.

Fortnum’s chief executive Ewan Venters told City A.M. the company had profited off the back of its strategy to prioritise local over international customers: “It’s been a historic year, these are the best profit before tax results we’ve ever had. I think the key factor is that we’re appealing to more Londoners. We’ve got more of them coming into the store to use the shop as a regular place to buy their tea, cheese, beef and so forth.

“A key part of our focus over the last two years has been about how to re-engage Londoners. For two or three decades Fortnum’s had become somewhere solely for the international visitor. And what we’ve done is remind people that Fortnum’s exists for the local people, and that’s been by improving both quality and range.”

Fortnum’s flagship store is at Piccadilly Circus. However, the retailer – owned by Wittington Investments – opened new shops at St Pancras International Station in 2013 and in Dubai in March 2014.