What's in store for House of Fraser

Department store group House of Fraser said yesterday it was thrilled about the plans for its new flagship Norwich store.The 120,000 sq ft store, which will anchor the £275m Chapelfield development, is not due to open for another two years.

Department store group House of Fraser said yesterday it was thrilled about the plans for its new flagship Norwich store.

The 120,000 sq ft store, which will anchor the £275m Chapelfield development, is due to open in two years.

Already preparations for the store are in an advanced stage, and bosses are confident that, when it opens in late 2005, it will prove a hit with Norfolk shoppers.

The company revealed it would bring to Norwich new formats tested in its stores at the Bluewater shopping centre in Essex and Birmingham.


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A new feature is expected to be a food concept called World of Food, which will incorporate a food hall selling a range of products including fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as space to enjoy a meal.

House of Fraser is also promising exciting clothing ranges for men, women and children, with Armani, Mulberry and DKNY among dozens of brands on offer.

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The Norwich store is one of six the company is opening over the next three years.

The programme began with the opening of a new store in the City of London this week and will include outlets in Dublin, Belfast, Maidstone and Croydon.

The company yesterday revealed like-for-like sales in its stores had lifted 5.4pc in the seven weeks since July 26.

Chief executive John Coleman said there were signs of an "improving consumer trend", but added it was too early to forecast how Christmas trading would go.

Analysts had anticipated tough times for retailers such as House of Fraser as shoppers seemed to have stayed away from the high street in the August heatwave.

The figures from House of Fraser were released to the City four days early after details of the company's half-year figures were leaked.

In the results, the company said that losses, before exceptional items, for the six months improved to £3.9m from £5m a year earlier.

House of Fraser, which has 49 outlets across the UK, traditionally makes a loss in the first half of its financial year because of the importance of Christmas trading.

Before yesterday's update, analysts had been expecting full-year pre-tax profits in the region of £27m.

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