House of Fraser earnings boosted by own-brand sales

Biba model
Image caption Biba is one of the in-house brands House of Fraser hopes will keep sales rising

Department store group House of Fraser has reported a 22% rise in half-year core earnings.

The privately owned company said earnings reached £13m on the back of a 5.5% rise in sales to £480.6m.

House of Fraser, the third-biggest department store chain in the UK, said own-brand sales had grown sharply.

The performance in the six months to 31 July was boosted by a 62% rise in sales of the group's house brand and a 150% increase in online sales.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose by 8.4%, and were up 10% in the first seven weeks of the second half.

Chief executive John King is adding more own-brand products, including the revived 1960s "Biba" womenswear label.

Own-brand items account for 11% of total sales and the company aims to lift that percentage to as much as 40%.

"We clearly are very encouraged by the strong demand for our House Brands from our customers, and particularly pleased with the recent launch of Biba," Mr King said.

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