UPDATE 1-UK retailer House of Fraser hits record Christmas sales

Mon Jan 7, 2013 4:34am EST

LONDON Jan 7 (Reuters) - British retailer House of Fraser posted record Christmas trading on Monday with demand for fashion and beauty products pushing underlying sales up 6.3 percent in the six weeks to January 5.

The privately owned group, which has 60 stores in Britain and Ireland, said sales were up across all of its categories, with online sales rising by almost half in the period.

Underlying, or like-for-like sales excluding VAT, for the first 10 weeks of the fourth quarter were up 5.2 percent.

"There is no doubt that 2012 was a challenging year in retail and it remains difficult to predict when economic conditions and consumer sentiment will improve," Chairman Don McCarthy said in a statement.

"With the strong sales performance in the period and a close focus on margins and operational efficiencies, we expect to report growth in full-year earnings in line with previous indications."

With shoppers fretting over job security and a squeeze on incomes British retailers generally found the going tough in 2012. For a factbox on how UK retailers have fared over Christmas please click here:

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