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Ashley: ‘House of Fraser is missing luxury brands’

House of Fraser’s new owner Mike Ashley said he will try to keep 80% of the department store chain’s 59 stores open and will add successful “cool brands of the moment”.

In his first interview since he bought the retailer in a pre-pack administration deal for £90m, Ashley told The Sun, brands like Gucci, Prada, Stone Island and Mallet footwear were “the biggest thing missing” from House of Fraser before it collapsed.

He told the newspaper: “We think the biggest and most important thing House of Fraser is missing is luxury brands. We think it will make a big difference.”

In a letter seen by Drapers, Ashley pledged to transform HoF into the Harrods of the high street.

He suggested he could introduce a “concierge click and collect” at HoF, where customers could book a time, changing room and a stylist when they collect goods in store.

He told the newspaper that larger HoF stores, such as the one in Birmingham, could have a floor dedicated to Sports Direct or Flannels. He also suggested that the Oxford Street flagship could be preserved, if he can win over landlords and suppliers.

Sports Direct appointed CBRE to advise on the HoF property portfolio. CBRE is set to start conversations with landlords over the coming days.

Drapers has contacted HoF and Sports Direct for comment.


Readers' comments (2)

  • darren hoggett

    Ashley is on the money with strategy in basic terms. I've argued for years that HOF has to go high end and it has never really been an out and out Premium store. However, you need less doors and much smaller doors for this to stand a chance, so in some cases, part of the floorspace that was solely HOF will be turned into one of his other ventures.

    Despite the 'deal', this is still a risky venture for Ashley in uncertain times. Making a silk purse from a sow's ear will be a challenge that could go either way.

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  • At least the Newcastle fans will have somewhere to buy their sheets when they are having a weekly protest.

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