Online sales boost for House of Fraser

Elizabeth Fournier
UK department store House of Fraser saw same store sales jump 8.5 per cent in the five weeks to 8 January, reinforcing the success of multi-brand retailers over the Christmas period.

It follows similar results last week from the John Lewis Partnership, which saw sales up 8.9 per cent compared to last year.

But House of Fraser outperformed its rival at stores open for a year or more, posting an 8.5 per cent like-for-like rise compared to John Lewis’ 7.6 per cent.

House of Fraser chief executive John King also said the group had seen a sharp increase in online sales, which were up 120 per cent on last year.

He added that department stores in particular had managed to buck the trend for decreased shopper traffic and sales during Christmas trading because they were “desirable as a one-stop shop” during the freezing weather that hit the UK in December.

The group’s newly-refurbished stores contributed the most to revenues, with like-for-like sales at these stores up by 10 per cent.

King said that the programme of store revamps would continue throughout 2011, with focus shifting to the group’s outlets in Bath and on London’s Oxford Street.

House of Fraser’s range of in-house fashion brands, which was boosted by revived label Biba, also performed well. New labels saw 50 per cent sales growth over the period.

Online sales have proved a key source of revenue for retailers this year, with supermarket figures due this week predicted to show J Sainsbury and Tesco gaining market share from rival Wm Morrison, which does not have a strong online presence.

House of Fraser’s website followed the trend. For the first time, online Christmas sales were higher than at any of its outlets, including Oxford Street.

King told City A.M. that he expects growth to continue, predicting that House of Fraser’s online sales will “double every year for the next three years”.