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Sales up at confident House of Fraser after summer turmoil

HOUSE of Fraser highlighted the impact of England's riots on its sales today but added that trading had picked up over recent weeks.

Like-for-like sales including VAT were 5.3pc higher in the six months to July 3,0 but reversed to 1pc lower due to "civil unrest and disruption" in the first three weeks of August.

The department store chain, which has 60 shops in the UK and with a presence in Dundrum, Dublin, said it was encouraged by the subsequent pick-up in trading over the last four weeks, with like-for-like sales up 3.9pc.

Chief executive John King added: "There is no doubt that market conditions will remain challenging, and we will remain cautious for the remainder of the year."

He added that investment in its online arm, which doubled sales in the first half of its financial year, and in store refurbishments would keep the company on the front foot.

Profits generated from sales rose £4.4m to £94.9m in the three months to July 30 but including set-up costs from a new distribution centre in Wellingborough underlying profits fell 6pc to £12.2m..

The chain also extended its range of in-house brands to 16 during the half-year period, following the introduction of Label Lab and Howick Tailored in menswear and Shabby Chic and Kenneth Cole in the home department.