House of Fraser to open discount stores

House of Fraser is trialling an outlet store that will sell only discount lines. The first outlet will open in November in Swindon.

House of Fraser is trialing an “outlet” store that will sell only discount lines. The first outlet will open in November in Swindon.

The launch of the new format, which will include products at a discount of up to 70%, is in response to the tough retail environment. It also follows a recent report that the department store’s visitor numbers have been declining.

According to Verdict Research, House of Fraser’s visitor share has fallen to its lowest level since 2001. The report says that 4.5% of all UK shoppers now regularly visit the retailer, a 0.4 percentage point decline from the year before. This is the third straight year that House of Fraser’s visitor share has fallen.

If the trial proves successful, the department store will consider converting three other stores to the outlet concept. A spokeswoman adds that the new format will not include any new lines or “those in season.”

Last month, the department delivered a healthy uplift in sales, which were up 2.9% for the 26 weeks to July 26.

House of Fraser was taken over by Icelandic investment company Baugur, two years ago in a £351.4m take-over. Baugur also owns Iceland, Hamley’s, Karen Millen and is a shareholder in Woolworths.

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