House of Fraser has revealed sales rose 2.7 per cent in the 39 weeks to October 25 on the back of new store openings.
In figures due to be filed at Companies House this week, Highland Group – the investment consortium that acquired the department store retailer in November 2006, said the uplift reflected the opening of stores in Belfast, High Wycombe and Bristol.
Highland Group comprises investors Don McCarthy, Sir Tom Hunter, Kevin Stanford, Stefan Cassar, HBOS and Baugur. It also includes Icelandic bank Glitnir, which has a 13.9 per cent stake, and went into administration earlier this month.
Members of the consortium, including McCarthy, have put contingency plans in place for an MBO, should Baugur or Glitnir’s assets be sold off.
In the year to January 26, sales at the group were down 1.1 per cent year on year to£1.03 billion. The retailer attributed the decline to store disruption, including the refurbishment of 13 stores and changes to its brand mix.
EBITDA was up 30 per cent to£68.1 million. Net assets at the year end were£214 million and net debt was£257.6 million.
By the end of the current year, more than£150 million will have been invested in the retailer since being taken private.
Chairman Don McCarthy said: “The retail industry is facing extremely challenging times.” But he believed the retailer will be “able to ride out the cycle”.
>The International Monetary Fund’s decision to loan Iceland US$2.1 billion (£1.3 billion) has granted Baugur-backed brands breathing space while the Icelandic authorities assess the value of Baugur’s and the Icelandic banks’ assets. McCarthy said Christmas was the present focus for all Baugur’s brands.