Credit: Andrew Meredith/Wikimedia

Fortnum & Mason unwraps an early Christmas present as sales soar

The luxury retailer's website revamp has paid off, with online sales boosting an already healthy performance.

by Rebecca Smith
Last Updated: 05 May 2016

Christmas may not be for another few weeks, but Fortnum & Mason has already received an early gift. The luxury department store’s annual results showed a record year for revenue and profits.

Sales in the year to July 2015 were up 19% to £88m, a 70% increase on five years ago. Profit before tax was a healthy £5m, up 31% on 2014. The strong performance was driven in part by solid like-for-like growth (up 13%) and sales through its newly revamped website, which soared by 22%.

The retailer brought its customer experience to Heathrow in late 2014 in a bid to help minimise the stress of travelling, with a new swanky store and bar at Terminal 5, which is currently outperforming expectations.

‘We are delighted with these figures, which are the reward for the programme of enhancements we have brought to the brand during the year,’ said Fortnum’s chairman Kate Hobhouse. ‘The past few years have seen us expand as a store, and I am particularly pleased that we have managed to do this without compromising the essence of Fortnum & Mason’ – which is presumably an alluring blend of champagne and caviar.

The flagship Piccadilly store has also had some TLC with the new beauty floor and a relaunch of the wine and spirits department helping to boost sales too. Aiming to extend the Fortnum brand even further, the company recently unveiled a new restaurant, 45 Jermyn St, which is said to be trading ahead of budget.

With goodwill in the air Fortnum’s will be looking to end the year on a high, with Christmas traditionally its strongest trading period. The retailer hopes sales will be buoyant as usual, uplifted by the appeal of its food.

Last year, the luxury shop – which has a Royal Warrant – sold a record number of its famous hampers, with sales up 15% in the five weeks to January 5. Christmas biscuits, mince pies and luxury truffles were also all in demand (up 39%, 29% and 133% respectively).

‘All the signs suggest we are going to have our best festive season on record,’ Hobhouse added. ‘Looking to the future, we know we can’t afford to rest on our laurels and we will continue to invest in the business to provide our customers with the best possible experience, in-stores and online.’

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