Fortnum and Mason has reported a surge in profits, buoyed by new outlets and demand for its hampers and caddies of loose-leaf tea.
The 307-year-old retailer, best known for its flagship store in Piccadilly Circus, London, said pre-tax profits had more than doubled to £3.8m in the year to July, while sales jumped 14% to £74.4m.
“We are thrilled with the figures,” said Fortnum’s chief executive, Ewan Venters. “The last financial year was a landmark one for us and the new stores at St Pancras and in Dubai, have both been big success stories. Piccadilly has gone from strength to strength too.”
Fortnum opened its first new store in more than 300 years at St Pancras station in London last November. It followed that up this year with its first outlet outside the UK, in Dubai, albeit operated by a third party, and recently made its debut at Heathrow Terminal 5.
Fortnum, owned by the Weston family that controls Associated British Foods, said hamper sales had increased 18% during the year and tea sales rose 13%. Online sales increased 25%.
The department store group makes the bulk of its profits over Christmas, and Venters was confident as it entered the key trading period: “We’re very excited about Christmas, naturally, and all the signs suggest we are going to have our best festive season on record too.”
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