House of Fraser warns of volatility despite rise in profits

A design by House of Fraser, which has delivered a rise in full year profits
A design by House of Fraser, which has delivered a rise in full year profits
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Department store chain House Of Fraser has chalked up a rise in full-year profits, but warned trading remains volatile.

The firm, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group, said pre-tax profits grew from £1.3 million to £3.4 million in the year to January 28.

Online delivered a 16.1% increase in sales and now accounts for over a fifth of the group’s total.

Overall revenues were flat at £1.3 billion, while like-for-like sales edged up 0.9% in the period.

However, the group warned the “volatility” it saw last year has continued into 2017.

“The volatility experienced throughout fiscal year 2017 has continued into the current financial year.

“Whilst trading remained subdued in February, as witnessed across the retail sector, the Group saw significant improvement in March,” the group said.

House Of Fraser also said five under-performing brands will be “discontinued” this year, with the focus moving to the most popular ones.

Colin Elliot, House Of Fraser’s finance chief, also flagged “continued challenging trading conditions across the retail sector”.

But he added: “To deliver such a strong set of results for the year is a testimony to the resilience of our business model, and credit to the expertise and dedication of the new senior management team.”

House Of Fraser recently opened its first standalone shop in China under a plan to build its brand in the Asian powerhouse.

It is setting up shop in Sanpower Plaza in the commercial zone of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province.