House of Fraser back in black
House of Fraser, the British department store retailer, reported record sales and a return to profit in the 2015/16 financial year.
The retailer saw sales increase by 4.2% to £1.3bn in the period, and one of the main reasons was online sales. Online sales rose by 26.8% on a like-for-like 52-week basis and represented 18.9% of total sales. In contrast, bricks-and-mortar store sales were up just 0.1%.
House of Fraser also reported a continued growth of its house brand, which rose by 4% and delivered record sales and cash margin. The retailer made a gross profit of £484.1m, up £23.9m (5.2%) year-on-year. House of Fraser also made its first profit before tax since 2006, £1.3m. Adjusted EBITDA rose 3% to £66.3m.
House of Fraser said that during the period, it further invested in its IT and e-commerce infrastructure, and will launch a new Australian website at the end of April. It also continued to invest in its store portfolio, including six extensive store refurbishments that were completed in the year. In spring 2017 House of Fraser is set to anchor a new shopping development in Northamptonshire.
The group said it remains "cautiously optimistic" for fiscal 2017, even though the opening weeks of the first quarter were impacted by challenging trading conditions.
Nigel Oddy, CEO of House of Fraser said: “House of Fraser is pleased to report positive sales and margin growth over the full year, delivering the first profit before tax in 10 years. This was driven by continued progress across both our online and bricks and mortar stores, despite the volatile trading environment in the final quarter of Fiscal Year 2016."
"We have continued to invest in our business throughout the year, strengthening our multichannel proposition and enhancing our store environments with six extensive store refurbishments completed in the year. This investment will continue in Fiscal Year 2017 when we plan to refurbish further stores and continue to develop our IT and ecommerce capabilities."
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