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Sunday 09th of January 2011
January 11, 2010    

House of Fraser experiences bumper Christmas sales

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by Kay Murchie

Department store chain House of Fraser is the latest retailer to report bumper Christmas sales after the company reported that like-for-like sales (which strip out gains from new stores) were 7.1% higher than 2008 levels.

The group said it had enjoyed its best ever Christmas week and also saw a Boxing Day sales surge 27%.

The department store said sales for its “House” labels, such as Linea, Kenneth Cole, New & Lingwood, Howick and Episode were up 33%.

Women’s fashion accessories grew 20% and menswear up 12% on a like-for-like basis.

John King, House of Fraser’s chief executive said: “It was pleasing that we had our biggest ever Christmas week and Boxing Day, with some of our stores, such as Oxford Street, experiencing their strongest ever performance.”

The results come just a few days after British retailing giant, Marks and Spencer, reported its first sales growth in over two years.

The 125-year-old retailer which sells clothes, food and homewares, said like-for-like sales grew 0.8% in the three months to 26 December compared with the same period a year earlier.

Fashion chain Next reported better than expected sales figures for the Christmas period, while the John Lewis Partnership, which is seen as a barometer of British retailing, said like-for-like sales were up 12.7% in the five weeks to 2 January 2010 compared with a year ago.

However, despite an excellent festive season for many retailers, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is warning the High Street not to be bullish as a “very tough” 12 months is in store.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson is warning that consumer spending may not grow as a result of tax hikes and continuing economic uncertainty.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Robertson said: “There will be increasing consumer uncertainty and we will see consumer confidence dropping. There will be tough sales and perhaps no growth.”

Meanwhile, budget fashion retailer, Primark, Argos and Homebase owner HRG, Halfords, Mothercare, HMV, Debenhams and DSGi, the group behind Currys and PC World, are all due to publish their results this week.

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