House of Fraser sales hit record for new owners

Kasmira Jefford
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BOOMING online sales helped House of Fraser deliver record gross profits last year, the department group said yesterday in the wake of its acquisition by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower.

House of Fraser’s adjusted earnings rose 8.3 per cent to £60.2m in the year to 25 January while gross profits hit £430.6m – its highest ever level, and a rise of 6.6 per cent.

Chief executive John King said a redesign of its website and improved home delivery options helped drive online sales up 41 per cent last year.

The launch of new own-brands such as Italian menswear label Corsivo also helped boost its fortunes, with like-for-like sales growing 3.6 per cent to a record £1.2bn.

The uptick in sales continued in the first 11 weeks of the new year, when like-for-like sales rose 3.3 per cent.

“The market continued to be highly competitive and accordingly we were pleased to have delivered another improvement in group profitability,” said House of Fraser’s chairman Don McCarthy, who is to step down once the takeover by Sanpower is completed.

Sanpower, which is controlled by Chinese tycoon Yuan Yafei, confirmed its purchase of an 89 per cent stake in the retailer this weekend, in a deal that valued the chain at around £480m including debt.

House of Fraser currently has 50 stores in the UK & Ireland and opened its first franchise overseas in Abu Dhabi last year. Its new owners plan to open 20 stores in China over the next few years and foresee having as many as 50 under the name of Oriental Fraser.

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