Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

HoF seeks rent reductions

House of Fraser has reportedly asked a number landlords for rent reductions, amid tough trading on the high street.

The department store chain made “informal requests” to an undisclosed number of landlords in recent weeks, according to Sky News.

In a statement issued to Sky News a HoF spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that we have contacted some of our landlords asking for their support as we drive forward with our transformation programme.”

Last Year HoF unveiled a five-year strategy that included plans to drop 30 to 40 womenswear brands, launch in-store champagne bars and yoga studios and invest £25m in an ecommerce revamp.

New chief executive Alex Williamson, who joined the business in July, was bullish about the retailer’s prospects, arguing that House of Fraser had been “starved of investment” for many years. 

Drapers has contacted HoF for comment. 

Readers' comments (3)

  • Despite having terms that most retailers would die for, HOF still cannot make it work efficiently. To launch in store white elephants such as 'Champagne Bars & Yoga Studios' show they have no idea where their problems really lie. They are not Harrods, they are a mainly middle to lower premium retailer that is on sale nearly all of the year. Desirable?

    If HOF cannot afford some of their sites, then they will have to find cheaper alternatives. Live within your means. Landlords should in not finance their tenants, whether it is HOF or anybody else.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Whilst I agree to an extent with the previous contributor that landlords should not finance their tenants, landlords do need to "face the facts" that footfall in traditional bricks & mortar locations is declining. This trend will undoubtedly continue as the next generation will more and more shop through digital. So turnover rents and more sensible rents will have to happen or retailers will shun the High Street & shopping centres. Landlords are greedy and appear to be out of touch with what is happening and expect 10 year commitments with upward only rent reviews!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • darren hoggett

    The evidence suggests that HOF is not a very good business. They rarely make a profit, so something must be fundamentally wrong with the way has been run over a very long period of time. Retail has and is changing fast - absolutely - but HOF should have the people onboard to see around the corners, but we keep hearing the same old story regarding inflexible landlords and underinvestment.

    Looking from the outside in and of my own experience as a customer on the menswear side, the stores are oversized, overstocked, too heavily and frequently discounted with questionable display/presentation and lacklustre, disinterested staff. It doesn't seem very customer enticing with a 'take or leave it' retail approach that harks back to a pre-crash era when money papered the cracks.

    While this analogy may not just apply to HOF, they do not have a USP. There are not an out and out 'premium' destination and increasing attract customers when the are on sale - which is most of the time. Once you take that path, you are doomed because you are not earning, just throwing money away in high rent locations of which it appears HOF cannot afford to pay. Like their competitor Debenhams, both need to downsize their physical presence and completely re-evalaute their businesses.

    While I agree with the previous poster that landlords should be realistic, I don't believe this would ultimately change and solve HOF's woes in this instance, so I think they are an easy target - as they often are when stores are not performing.

    HOF needs to raise its game, put the customer first with an emphasis on quality over quantity, instead of a convoluted and disjointed neo-premium image that doesn't yet warrant or merit Champagne bars.

    To succeed, HOF's path should ultimately be a downsized, 'premium only' outlet, but you have to earn that right and get the basics in place of which they appear a long way off.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.