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Friday, 12 January, 2001, 10:43 GMT
House of Fraser lifts retailers
Man tries on a jacket in clothes store
House of Fraser claims to be the UK's biggest seller of designer clothes
House of Fraser and Austin Reed have both reported improved like-for-like sales over the Christmas period, giving a much needed boost to confidence in the retail sector.

On Thursday, retail shares had taken a battering after companies including Matalan, Great Universal Stores and Next issued trading statements that disappointed investors.

House of Fraser said its like-for-like sales were up 4.5% in the seven weeks to 6 January and up 6% in the 23 weeks to the same date.

Austin Reed increased like-for-like sales 4% in the six weeks to 6 January and 10% in 21 weeks to the same date.

In a statement, it said it continued to benefit from good margin, cost and stock management.

Strong womenswear sales

House of Fraser chief executive John Coleman said: "The significant sales growth which House of Fraser continues to achieve reflects our strong merchandise offer and our position as Britain's leading retailer of designer brands.

"We are particularly pleased by our sales over the Christmas and January trading periods, as they were up against a very strong Millennium-driven performance in the same period last year."

The company said womenswear had been a particularly strong seller, with private label and branded products both doing well.

House of Fraser stores on London's Oxford Street and in Guildford - formerly DH Evans and Army & Navy respectively - had both traded strongly since being refurbished, the company added.

At the close of trade Friday, House of Fraser shares were 1p down at 62.5p while Austin Reed was 7.5p improved at 100p.

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11 Jan 01 | Business
Matalan leads retail share plunge
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