Department store operator House of Fraser has posted upbeat first-half results, with sales up 2.9 per cent in the 26 weeks to July 26.

Stock levels were 5 per cent lower than in the same period last year and House of Fraser’s EBITDA has improved by more than 30 per cent over the past 12 months. Part of the improvement was attributed to high margin private-label products being extended into new product areas including handbags, homewares and accessories.

House of Fraser’s two new stores, Belfast and High Wycombe, both exceeded expectations by 15 per cent.

House of Fraser said that it would be undertaking a significant number of store revamps during the next half, with Bluewater, Reading, Leeds, Dundrum in Dublin and Jenners in Edinburgh all due to receive makeovers.

House of Fraser chairman Don McCarthy said: “Our three-year investment programme is well underway and we are delighted by the performance of our new stores. We believe we are at the beginning of an exciting 18 months for House of Fraser with the opening of two new stores this autumn.”