After news of a 32% increase in web-based sales during the latest financial year, House of Fraser says it’s looking to push forward with an ‘exceptional’ online business in tow.

Online transactions accounted for 15.4% of the store’s total sales in a period where brick-and-mortar custom rose only by 2.2%, leaving the company to report a 5.8% lift in sales year on year. 

The news follows an update regarding the company’s c-level structure, which saw Uday Kotla installed as chief information officer and Andy Harding move from executive director multi-channel to chief customer officer.

The group informs PerformanceIN that Harding is stepping into a newly created role, and that his remit will include tasks relating to customer relationship management as well as multi-channel sales.

His appointment comes amid a concerted effort from retailers to better understand the people they serve, thrusting concepts such as the single customer view into the spotlight.

Record earnings 

Gross profits up until the year ending January 31 rose to a record £460.2 million for the department store as it made early progress under its new owner. 

Last year saw House of Fraser sell a majority stake, thought to represent 89% of the company, to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower for £480 million. 

Chief executive Nigel Oddy believes the new figures cut a picture of positivity, commending how well the business has taken to selling online.

“Our online business has performed exceptionally strongly and has substantial future potential,” he commented.  

“The web store has been the largest single store in terms of sales for the last three years and, for the first time this year, it has become the most profitable store in the Group.”

Broadening horizons

Moving forward, House of Fraser says it plans on opening a number of new stores this year, although perhaps not in the locations some would have imagined.

Early signs of Sanpower’s involvement are evident in news of three House of Fraser stores being opened in China, planned for Nanjing, Chongqing and Xuzhou. 

Confident in its UK business model, the store will also launch online in China and Australia as part of its expansion into emerging markets.

Oddy went on to state that he was “very excited” about House of Fraser’s next phase of growth in the UK.