Buy & collect driving House of Fraser store traffic

House of Fraser has announced today (25 September) that gross transaction value in the six months to 27 July was up to £522.1 million, with like-for-like sales excluding VAT rising 3.3%.

The department store chain said that various multichannel initiatives, including its buy & collect facility, a new mobile site and an updated iPhone app, helped push up sales. Online trade for the half-year was up 57%, and House of Fraser indicated that the greater mix of buy & collect products is helping to drive store footfall.

In a trading statement, the retailer detailed the enhancements it has made to its online proposition, which includes the launch of a number of new brands and product lines, such as leading fashion brand Superdry.

The last six-month period has also seen the launch of a nationwide seven days a week buy & collect service with an order cut-off time of 10pm, as well as a UK-wide home delivery service offering an order cut-off time of midnight for delivery between 6-10pm the following day.

House of Fraser also indicated that technical developments in its eCommerce business are driving up conversion rates and reducing return levels.

Adjusted EBITDA was flat compared to the same period last year at £7.5 million, but the investment made by the retailer in its digital offerings is expected to boost the company's bottom line in the years ahead.

John King, CEO of House of Fraser, commented: "We took deliberate action to continue to invest in our multichannel and house brand businesses which has meant higher costs in the first half resulting in EBITDA being level.

"However, we expect that this investment will deliver growth for the second half. We remain confident that the Group's business model, with our premium brand positioning, growing house brand mix and multichannel operations, positions us strongly for the foreseeable future."

Positive trading for the first eight weeks of the second half of House of Fraser's financial year was also reported, with like-for-like sales to Saturday 21 September up 1.1% year on year.