House of Fraser has joined department store rival John Lewis in reporting record sales over the core Christmas season.
The chain, which operates almost 60 stores in the UK and Ireland, said it sold more goods with like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 3 January rising 8% – mostly boosted by 125% growth in Black Friday online sales.
Total online sales rose 31.2% during the period while stores traded up 4.2% on a like-for-like basis.
It was the company’s first festive trading update since its £480m takeover by China’s Sanpower last year.
Chief executive John King said: “We are delighted with our Christmas trading performance.
“This year we saw a very strong start to the key Christmas season with Black Friday being particularly successful.
“This positive momentum continued over the entire critical selling period with a record sales level during the final week before Christmas.
“Our performance demonstrates the success of our strategy to continuously improve our online proposition, develop both our House Brands and premium branded proposition and invest in our stores to give our customers the best possible shopping experience.
“With the record sales and margin performance in the period and a close focus on operational efficiencies, we expect to report a further growth in full year earnings.
Its Christmas sales figures, like those of John Lewis, reflected continued strong growth online in particular but also the growing influence of Black Friday and other pre-Christmas sale offerings on the UK retail market.
It has led to speculation among some analysts that the sector as a whole had a record Christmas sales performance though discounting was likely to hit profit growth.
Tesco and M&S are two leading brands due to report this week.
The supermarket chain’s market share dominance has been suffering in the wake of challenges from hard discounters and the likes of Waitrose at a time of turmoil within the business given its recent profit over-statement.
Chief executive Dave Lewis is expected to launch a turnaround strategy to combat the challenges.
M&S remains under pressure to grow sales in its fashion division.