Fortnum & Mason, the renowned luxury department store owned by the Canadian Weston family, has announced a significant recovery in sales for the year ending in July. The turnover at its UK stores, including its flagship location on Piccadilly, as well as stores in Royal Exchange and Heathrow Airport, witnessed a remarkable growth of 34%, reaching pre-Covid levels. This extraordinary surge in sales can be attributed to the strong domestic demand and an increase in international customers.
Although Fortnum & Mason is widely recognized for its opulent selection of food and drinks, it also offers an array of gift-focused products such as fragrances, luxury jewelry, leather goods, and beauty items. While the Piccadilly store remains the most iconic, Fortnum & Mason has successfully expanded its presence in the online retail space. In fact, online sales accounted for 36% of its total retail sales, showcasing the company’s adaptability. Although online sales experienced a slight decline during the reported financial year, it was expected due to the surge in online shopping during the previous year’s Covid-related restrictions. Nevertheless, the store’s e-commerce operations continue to outperform the levels seen in 2019.
In terms of financial performance, Fortnum & Mason reported a 12% increase in turnover, amounting to £208.6 million ($285.7 million), with pre-tax profit growing by 23% to £7.5 million. However, these figures still fall short of the pre-pandemic levels. On an EBITDA basis, profit rose from £14.2 million to £16 million. During the year, the company made substantial investments, allocating £8.2 million to operations compared to £4.9 million in the previous year. Notably, this included the opening of a new retail store at Hong Kong airport, reflecting Fortnum & Mason’s commitment to expanding its global footprint.
Despite the positive results, Fortnum & Mason acknowledges the challenging operating conditions and broader economic headwinds ahead. To address these challenges, the company plans to increase its investments in operations for the current year. While the luxury department store has demonstrated resilience in bouncing back from the impact of the pandemic, it remains cautious about the unpredictable future of the retail industry.