Luxury department store Fortnum & Mason has recorded a profit for the first time in six years alongside record sales.

In accounts to be filed shortly at Companies House, Fortnum & Mason has recorded a pre-tax profit of £100,000 in the year to July 18, up from a loss of £5.7m in the previous year.

Sales increased 9% to a record £51.2m, up from £47.1m the previous year. Gross margin grew from 31% to 34% and costs were also reduced.

The flagship store in Piccadilly “achieved outstanding growth” said the retailer. Product demonstrations and in-store events helped drive footfall.

The international business “performed strongly” and in Japan the operation changed to a direct licensing agreement.

Managing director Beverley Aspinall said: “Last year was a real turning point for us and to return to profit and achieve record sales for the business is a credit to our team’s hard work and the investments made over the past few years.

“It is also encouraging that we are continuing to see good growth throughout the business in the current financial year.   In our Piccadilly store, footfall is up for both domestic and overseas customers and we have seen an increase in sales of higher priced items with sales of caviar, champagne and £1,000 Windsor Hampers experiencing double digit growth. 

“We continue, however, to be mindful of continuing challenging and uncertain market conditions and our focus is to build on the progress made and to continue to develop sales through all channels whilst also controlling our cost base.”