Store chain cautious

House of Fraser to revamp stores as profits jump

Jenners: profits boost (photo by Terry Murden)

House of Fraser announced plans to revamp its stores around “lifestyle experiences” as it unveiled a sharp rise in pre-tax profits from £1.3 million to £3.4m in the year to 28 January.

The group, which owns Jenners, said online sales grew 16.1% and now account for a fifth of revenue.

It has set out a strategy to introduce more restaurants and bars to its shops to lure shoppers.

Frank Slevin, chairman, said that its new champagne bar in Belfast had been a success and the retailer could replicate it in some stores.

Harvey Nichols has already adopted the lifestyle concept with its Forth Floor bars and restaurant in Edinburgh.

The move to introduce more services and restaurants follows a general shift in consumer spending from buying products to experiences. Over Easter leisure spending continued to outstrip retail spending as people opted for meals out rather than new clothes.

Colin Elliot, group finance chief, said: “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.”

However, he warned that in spite of the improved results there were challenging conditions ahead for the retail sector.

Overall revenues were flat at £1.3 billion, while like-for-like sales were slightly higher, up 0.9%.

The group is owned by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group and recently opened its first standalone shop in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province.

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