Pistachio and clotted cream biscuits and sparkling tea were best sellers on Christmas, helping sales increase by 21%
Pistachios and clotted cream biscuits and sparkling tea at Christmas have helped Queen’s grocer Fortnum & Mason recover from its first annual loss in 12 years.
The upmarket food shop, which has close ties to the royal family, marked an exceptional seller of biscuits and tea during festivals. The demand saw a 21 per cent increase in sales in the five weeks to December 26 as compared to a year ago.
The bumper performance came after the lockdown-induced slowdown. Accounts filed today show the business lost £2.7 million in the 12 months to July 2021 as turnover fell 6% to £132 million. This is the company’s first annual pre-tax loss since 2009.
Fortnums blamed the pandemic, which forced it to close its iconic Piccadilly store.
CEO Tom Athron said: “After a year of inevitable challenges dominated by Covid, we are becoming stronger and more resilient than ever before.
“We now have a home business that has almost doubled in size to the pandemic. Christmas was extraordinarily strong because the clients put us right at the center of their plans to celebrate. ,
Fortnums invested heavily in digital during the pandemic to help with store closures. Online sales grew by a third in 2020 to 55% in 2021. Online sales jumped 65% in December as work from home orders took effect.
President Kate Hobhouse said: “2011 has been a testing year, but our entire focus has been on the health and well-being of our people, and on continuing to deliver the best products and experiences for our customers.
“We are especially grateful for the hard work and determination of all our people during these difficult and complex times.
“While we are still in the early stages of recovery, we are confident that our digital growth, coupled with strong domestic sales performance, drives a long and sustainable future forward.”
Fortnum & Mason was founded in London in 1707, when Queen Anne allowed her footman, William Fortnum, to sell candles thrown from St James’s Palace. The retailer has since enjoyed a close relationship with the Royal Family and currently holds two warrants from Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales.