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Sep 23, 2011
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House of Fraser profit falls, sales growth slows

By
Reuters
Published
Sep 23, 2011

House of Fraser
LONDON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - British department store group House of Fraser posted a 6.2 percent fall in underlying first-half profit and said sales growth had slowed in the early weeks of its second-half.

The privately owned group, which trades from 61 stores, said on Thursday it made adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 12.2 million pounds ($19.0 million) in the six months to July 30, down from 13.0 million in the same period last year.

The fall reflected set up costs associated with the opening of a new distribution centre.

Sales at stores open over a year rose 5.3 percent in the first-half and were up 1.9 percent in the first seven weeks of the second-half.

The 160-year-old group, taken private by the Highland consortium in 2006, cut its net debt to 235.4 million pounds from 275.7 million pounds at July 2010.

Last week John Lewis (BB90_p.L), the UK's biggest department store group, posted an 18 percent drop in first-half profit, while on Tuesday Debenhams , the No. 2 player, reported a 0.3 percent fall in full-year like-for-like sales.

House of Fraser Chief Executive John King said he was confident of growth over the full-year despite tough macro headwinds.

"There is no doubt that market conditions will remain challenging, and we will remain cautious for the remainder of the year," he said.

($1 = 0.641 British Pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Neil Maidment)

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