Tuesday 18 April 2017

House of Fraser Hires New Chief As Profits Rise

House of Fraser

House of Fraser hires a new leader, its finance boss revealed on Tuesday as the department store reported a pick-up in full-year sales.

Colin Elliot said the retailer, owned by Chinese tycoon Yuan Yafei’s Sanpower conglomerate, will announce a new chief executive, who is coming from outside the business, “sooner rather than later”.

House of Fraser has been without a boss since Nigel Oddy quit last year amid speculation about a dispute with its Chinese shareholder.

Oddy’s successor will arrive as the chain is beginning a major revamp to counter competition from online-only rivals and a shift from spending on clothing towards experience and leisure.

It is refreshing in-house brands, axing five underperforming labels, rethinking marketing, refurbishing stores to dedicate more space to things like spas and restaurants, and overhauling IT and logistics.

Today it posted a 0.9% rise in same-store sales in the year ended January 28 and pre-tax profit of £3.4 million versus the year before’s £1.3 million.

Elliot characterised the results as strong given the “difficult” trading environment caused by Brexit uncertainty. He expects conditions to remain volatile and said the company was “reasonably cautious” for this year.

However, he added that House of Fraser was less influenced by the falling pound than rivals as half of its sales come via concessions. John Lewis has recently cut jobs and its staff bonus after warning of the impact of sterling’s slump.



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