Round Up - House of Fraser, WH Smith, Asos, Michael Page

Department store House of Fraser has racked up its first profit in a decade thanks to soaring demand from men. It posted an annual pre-tax profit of £1.3million, its first since 2006, as like-for-like sales rose 4.2%. Online sales were up 26.8%. Menswear grew by 8.5%.

Profits at WH Smith rose 11% to £80million in its first six months with sales up 4%. The group said travel sales from its stores in airports and train stations around the world were up 11%. High street sales dropped 1% but were flat on a like-for-like basis. Boss Stephen Clarke said its high street showing was the “best for many years”.
Online fashion retailer Asos has racked up an 18% rise in profit to £21.2million in the six months to February 29. Sales grew 21% to £667million with UK demand up 25% and international 18% higher. Customer numbers were up 17% to 10.9million. Chief executive Nick Beighton said: “We’ve had a good start to the year and I’m pleased with progress on a number of fronts.”
Recruitment group Michael Page has reported a 3.6% gross profit rise to £142.4million in the first quarter despite highlighting “challenging” trading conditions. Its EMEA region did well rising 10.3%, with Benelux up 32% and Southern Europe 20% stronger. However, Asia slumped 1% and Australasia was down 3%.