Store closures in Bromley, Paisley and Inverness were blamed for a shortfall in total GTV by 2.3 per cent compared with the equivalent period in the year before, as was the refurbishment of the Manchester store and the resiting of the store in Maidstone slated for completion in March 2005.
House of Fraser said that these factors were partially offset by the opening of its Croydon branch.
However, the directors maintain that tighter control on stock will enable the retailer to file profits before tax for the year in-line with the previous year's performance.
House of Fraser chief executive John Coleman said: 'We believe we have delivered a creditable performance in a difficult and challenging retail environment. We enter 2005 in a significantly stronger financial position following the recently announced property and storecard transactions. These, together with the opening of three new stores later this year, enable the group to look to 2005 with confidence.'