Fortnum & Mason posted a strong sales performance over Christmas as customer numbers soared. Its success is credited to investment in its Piccadilly flagship as well as its return to ecommerce trading in Europe last year.


Fortnum & Mason in the heart of London’s Piccadilly

Fortnum & Mason reported a 17% increase in sales year on year for the five weeks to December 24, 2023. The double-digit growth is said to be driven by “record” numbers of customers shopping both in-store and online over the Christmas period.

The luxury department store said it welcomed more than 6 million customers across its channels during the period, half of whom visited its physical stores – 30% ahead of last year.

Fortnum & Mason said today that in order to meet Christmas demand it had taken on an additional 200,000 sq ft of “additional warehouse space” and recruited more than 1,000 seasonal employees.

The retailer hailed the success of its Christmas ranges with advent calendars, decorations and biscuits being among its bestsellers. It also noted a “strong demand” for fresh food at its Piccadilly flagship store.

This “strong” Christmas performance follows a year of growth for the company as it recorded a 12% increase in revenue for the 52 weeks to July 9, 2023, reaching a total of £209m.

Pre-tax profit for the full-year also jumped 23% to £7.1m, despite the “challenging operating conditions” and rising inflation across the year, which took a hit on the costs of both food and labour.

Following the restart of its deliveries to the EU in October for the first time since March, 2021, Fortum & Mason said it plans to “double down on the investment, continuing to showcase the best of British food and drink for the EU customer base” this year.

A new store at Dubai airport later this month was also confirmed, as well as plans to open a new “consolidated” 400,000 sq ft distribution centre in Northamptonshire as the retailer continues to invest in infrastructure to support its growth strategy.

Moments of joy

Fortnum & Mason chief executive Tom Athron said: “It has been a year defined by a resurgence in the appeal of shopping in real life, and the uniqueness that the Fortnum’s experience offers is a significant driver of that.

”In particular, our flagship in the heart of an increasingly vibrant Piccadilly, has seen customers coming not just to shop, but also for the experience itself. For example, our new Food and Drinks Studio and Supper Clubs have proven to be extremely popular, as were the incredible dancing Christmas puddings in our atrium – which were quite a hit on social media!

“During the coming year, we will also be investing further in the operations side of the business. As many retailers experienced over Christmas, the significant spike of late seasonal demand tested our infrastructure to the limit.

“To address this growing demand, we announced yesterday that we will be consolidating our distribution centres into a single 400,000 sq ft warehouse space in Northants to ensure all our customers experience the brilliant service they would expect.

“So as we look ahead to 2024, I’ve never been prouder of our achievements or more excited by our future plans to continue to bring more moments of joy into peoples’ lives, which has always been the mission of Fortnum & Mason.”