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House Of Fraser Boasts Cracking Festive Sales

(c) Sky News 2013

Online sales helped make it a bumper Christmas for House of Fraser which has posted record trading results for the festive period.

The company said demand for fashion and beauty products pushed like-for-like sales up 6.3% in the six weeks to January 5.

Overall like-for-like sales excluding VAT, for the first 10 weeks of the fourth quarter were up 5.2%.

It said online sales rose by almost half in the period.

The privately owned group, which has 60 stores in Britain and Ireland (OTC BB: IRLD - news) , said sales were up across all areas.

"There is no doubt that 2012 was a challenging year in retail and it remains difficult to predict when economic conditions and consumer sentiment will improve," chairman Don McCarthy said.

"With the strong sales performance in the period and a close focus on margins and operational efficiencies, we expect to report growth in full-year earnings in line with previous indications."

British retailers generally found the going tough in 2012 with shoppers fretting over job security and a squeeze on incomes.

Some traders have also come under pressure from online sellers, who can operate with less overheads and offer home delivery.

House of Fraser is the latest department store to reveal the details of how its trading fared over the festive period.

Last week, John Lewis revealed it made £684.8m in the five weeks to December 29 - up almost 15% on the same period in 2011.

Compared with two years ago, total sales were up 25.5% and like-for-like sales grew by 20.1%, the partnership said.

Electricals and home technology were up 30.9%, fashion and beauty climbed 10% and home furnishings increased by 6.2%.

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