House of Fraser has recorded its best Christmas trading period fuelled by a 57.7% surge in online sales.

For the three weeks to December 28 like-for-like sales excluding VAT jumped 7.3% and cash gross margins increased 11.9%.

Store sales advanced 3% in the three weeks as the retailer revealed it generated record sales at its Glasgow, Belfast and Oxford Street stores.
But online was the star performer, with sales up 57.7%.

House of Fraser said its private-label brands performed well with sales up 22.8%. It added that all categories recorded growth and fashion sales increased 9.8%, beauty sales rose 6.7% and sales across its home category jumped 1.1%.

In the first nine weeks of the fourth quarter House of Fraser recorded a like-for-like sales rise of 4.3%, while cash gross margins grew 8.7%.

House of Fraser chief executive John King said: “We are delighted with our Christmas trading and are pleased to report another record performance despite a more competitive environment. November trading was strong, in terms of both sales and margin growth, with a similar promotional programme. As we expected, the peak Christmas trading came late, however, it was the best we have ever recorded.”

King added: “This 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. Given the sales performance, we also expect to finish the year with a cleaner stock position and lower net debt and are well placed to deliver further growth in 2014.”