House of Fraser remains optimistic despite profit slump

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House of Fraser’s half-year sales and profits have taken a hit following the re-platforming of its website and a period of heavy discounting.

The retailer’s total gross value for the 26 weeks to 29 July was £545.8 million, while like-for-like sales declined by 5.2% against last year.

The department store chain also recorded a half-year earnings loss of £8.6 million, down from a £900,000 profit in 2016.

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Meanwhile gross profits slipped 5% to £196.9 million over the period.

House of Fraser said “significant disruption” was caused by a £25m “replatforming” of its website in April, although the group expects to be trading normally by the beginning of the final quarter of the year.

Its finances were also hit by heavy discounting of its house brand stock to make way for a new womenswear range, which launched for AW17.

Despite this, House of Fraser chief executive officer Alex Williamson said the retailer has “much to be optimistic about”.

He shares: “Our new House Brand Womenswear collections for Autumn/Winter have been launched and our customers’ response to date has been very encouraging. Our new web platform greatly improves our customers’ experience and online margins whilst our investment in the distribution centre will deliver cost savings through improved operational efficiencies. And this is just the start of our journey with several other projects designed to provide additional sales and costs savings as part of the overall Transformation Programme due to commence shortly.

“I am excited about what lies ahead for the business and I am optimistic for the future. With the support of Sanpower, we are building the right foundations that position us well to deliver on our ambitions for sustainable profit growth.”

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