House of Fraser reports on dismal festive sales as it cuts discounts in store

 
Helen Cahill
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House of Fraser reported dismal sales in the run-up to Christmas as it struggled to cash in on the busiest time of year for retailers.

Over the six weeks to 23 December, online sales were weak, falling by 7.5 per cent in the period. In stores, sales fell by 2.9 per cent, and inched up by just 0.8 per cent on Black Friday. And, the department store said sales after Christmas were "disappointing".

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The group has been reducing its promotional activity, and said today that this decision had increased gross margins by approximately 0.5 per cent across the business. The company has also identified £26m in annual savings, having saved £10m already.

Alex Williamson, chief executive of House of Fraser, said: "We are a business in transition; our focus is on driving profitability rather than chasing revenue at any cost.

"We are not a business determined to sell everything to everyone at any price. What's important, and we are seeing some success in the numbers, is to keep our discipline in selling those products that are loved by customers and profitable for House of Fraser."

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