The owner of The Brunel shopping centre has hit out at Sports Direct’s decision to close the Swindon branch of House of Fraser.
Landlord FI Real Estate Management said the “non-negotiable” terms on offer from HoF, would have meant the landlord would have had to pay all rent and service charges, were not commercially viable.
The landlord announced that it had signed up outdoor clothing firm Trespass and health food store The Grape Tree at the centre, and confirmed new lease agreements with other occupiers.
A spokesman for FI Real Estate Management said: “We were disappointed by the recent announcement of House of Fraser’s decision to leave The Brunel, particularly the job losses suffered as a result. For the past 20 years, the retailer has paid a nominal rent to remain in the centre and we were happy to uphold this agreement.
”However, the new proposal put forward by House of Fraser was non negotiable and would see FI Real Estate Management covering all centre related costs in terms of rent and service charge without a lease agreement in place.
“We understand the current challenges faced by the UK high street, however, these terms were inequitable and ultimately not commercially feasible for us. We have owned and managed The Brunel for the past six years and our ethos of being fair and flexible with our tenants and as attractive as possible to new businesses continues.”
He said: “I am disappointed that in my opinion a small number of greedy landlords still refuse to be reasonable. Those landlords whom we have been unable to agree terms with include, but are not limited to, the following: Parabola Hope Street, Redefine Paragon Square Hull, and FI Real Estate Management.”
“I am calling on everybody to pull together, including landlords and local authorities in order to help to save as many House of Fraser stores and jobs as possible on the great British high street.”