Upmarket food department store Fortnum & Mason has reported a fall in annual profits as it was hit by IT problems in the run up to Christmas 2011.

The retailer, founded in 1707, reported a fall in operating profit from £1m to £345,000 in the year to July 15 2012. It invest £3m in new IT systems.

However turnover grew 8% to £59.3m.

The company was forced to invest in extra staff in 2011 when “issues associated” with the opening of its new distribution centre in Cambridgeshire, as well as the implementation of new systems, affected deliveries, meaning some shoppers did not receive hampers.

The company’s directors said: “Although profitability was lower than the previous year, good progress was made particularly in the second half of the year with strong trading through the iconic Picadilly store and online and with the successful completion of the two major infrastructure projects that have placed the company in a strong position to achieve future growth.”

During the year former chief executive Beverley Aspinall resigned, and was replaced by Selfridges executive director for food, restaurants and online Ewan Venters.

Earlier this month, the retailer reported a sales surge of 17.3% in December, the highest monthly level in the retailer’s 305-year history as online sales soared 45% over Christmas.