House of Fraser’s website will replatform on to the same provider as the wider Sports Direct Group later this year, Drapers can reveal.
House of Fraser’s website is currently hosted on a custom-built platform provided by Hybris, while Sports Direct has its own custom-built platform. All fascias under the Sports Direct Group will be replatformed on to Reaction Commerce platform this year, Drapers understands.
Some HoF brands have voiced concern about the migration.
“People are already worried that it’s going to become an offshoot of Sports Direct and lose its online presence completely,” said the owner of one menswear brand.
The head of sales at another menswear label agreed: “It would be a very bad thing if they re-platform on to [the same platform as] Sports Direct. You just have to look at the headaches John Lewis had when they changed their online footing. It’s taken them such a long time to get that back where it should be. This upheaval feels like a circus.”
However, the founder of one footwear brand said the consolidation on to a new platform makes sense: “The new management team is dealing with online very differently to the previous management team [at HoF]. They feel that it’s better to do less business and make money than do a lot of business and make less money. Either way, they’ve got a lot to do at HoF and online is what they’re looking at.
Meanwhile, brands have hit out over an “alarming” drop in online sales since Sports Direct took over the department store chain six months ago.
HoF was forced to mothball its website on 14 August, following a row with warehouse operator XPO Logistics. It relaunched more than a month after it was taken offline.
Although the site has been back up and running for five months, several brands have told Drapers they are still reporting a slump in sales because of a “major knock in consumer confidence”.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that [HoF] has been trading badly online,” said one brand source. “Our online sales are still down since Sports Direct has taken over. It is a big concern because HoF is a key partner for us. We were majorly affected, as were other brands. It’s taken some time to regain customers’ trust – the situation is alarming.”
The chair of one footwear brand agreed: “Our sales are down on the HoF website and they will continue to remain this way until the relevant changes are made. It is a concern for us and we now do less business with them online than we used to.”
HoF confirmed the platform migration but declined to comment on online sales performance.