Record profit for Fortnum & Mason and online sales grow 25%

Upmarket UK department store Fortnum & Mason has reported a record 12 months for profit, amid investment in its first new stores for more than 300 years.

Sales in the year to July 2014 totalled £74.4 million – a 14% increase on 2013 – and profit before tax rose by £2 million to £3.8 million. The business has been boosted by a rising eCommerce operation, which saw revenue grow 25% year on year to represent 17% of total sales.

It was a noteworthy year for Fortnum & Mason, with the opening of its first new store in more than 300 years at London's St Pancras International and its inaugural property outside the UK, which was unveiled in Dubai in March, on a licensed basis.

Last week saw the retailer open the doors of a brand new 1,000 sq ft standalone store at Heathrow Terminal 5, but its core store in the heart of London's Piccadilly, which was opened in 1707, remains the company's key property.

Commenting on the results, Fortnum's CEO Ewan Venters said: "The last financial year was a landmark one for us and the new stores at St Pancras, and in Dubai, have both been big success stories.

"Piccadilly has gone from strength to strength too, and it's all down to the management and wider staff teams. We have an exceptionally talented group driving the business forward."

Like the majority of retailers, the build-up to Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for Fortnum & Mason – and the business is confident about experiencing a successful 2014 festive period. The Fortnum Christmas hampers are traditionally a big seller for the department store.

Venters commented: "We're very excited about Christmas, naturally, and all the signs suggest we are going to have our best festive season on record, too.

"Looking to the future, we know we can't afford to rest on our laurels. We'll continue to invest in the business to provide our customers with the best possible experience, in-stores and online, and we're all set to launch a number of extremely exciting initiatives in 2015."

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