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House of Fraser website pulled offline

House of Fraser’s website has been taken offline amid a dispute with warehouse operator XPO Logistics.

Workers at the department store’s Wellingborough and Milton Keynes distribution centres were told by site operator XPO Logistics to stop accepting goods and processing deliveries for HoF last week.

As a result, there have been product shortages in some HoF stores and delayed or failed deliveries of online orders.

HoF has been communicating with shoppers on Twitter.

Several messages from the retailer read: “Regrettably, due to the recent change in ownership, some orders have been delayed. We don’t currently have a timescale for delivery. However, your order will be delivered as soon as possible.”

It added: “Thank you all for your continued patience and support while we work hard behind the scenes during this time. We hope to have an announcement with further information shortly, but until then please do continue to communicate any questions you may have.”

A source close to the situation said XPO was “refusing to engage” with Sports Direct. He added: ”It is at an bit of an impasse at the moment, it is impacting deliveries and it might have an impact on the rescue deal.” 

As previously reported by Drapers, HoF suppliers are collectively owed at least £70m in payments due this week relating to sales in June and July. However, HoF administrator EY has said the amounts owed will not be paid.

Sports Direct paid £90m to acquire HoF, its stock and stores from the administrator last week in a pre-pack administration deal. HoF is not legally obliged to make payments for any goods sold before the transaction, leaving suppliers and concession operators facing big debts.

Suppliers told Drapers the shortfall could push some smaller business over the edge.

Drapers also revealed that several concession holders have removed stock from House of Fraser stores, while some brands that are sold in HoF stores via wholesale agreements are understood to be reviewing “retention of title” clauses.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Takeover has started well. Now annoying customers. Genius.

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  • There was not just one cause behind the collapse of HoF, but online performance was a big part of its downfall - £25m spent on replatforming in 2017 and sales dropped off a cliff never to recover. Hopefully lessons will be learned.

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  • Because of HOF's discount culture, their typical consumer would never pay anything other than a substantially discounted price. I often used to see item being sold at just - and I mean just - above cost, so as a business model is was completely hopeless and unsustainable.

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