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Mike Ashley to close three House of Fraser stores

House of Fraser is to close three stores imminently after owner Mike Ashley said he was unable to agree terms with “greedy landlords”.

The three House of Fraser stores facing closure are Edinburgh Frasers, where the landlord is Parabola Hope Street; Hull, which is run by Redefine Paragon Square Hull; and Swindon, where the landlord is FI Real Estate Management.

House of Fraser is currently in consultation with staff at these stores.

The retailer added that Bath City Council is also currently refusing to agree new terms, so the Bath store is also at risk of closure.

According to one source Ashley asked some landlords for six months rent free and would not commit to anything thereafter. He added that some landlords had already found new tenants. 

Ashley previously said he plans to keep 80% of House of Fraser’s 59 stores trading. 

The Sports Direct owner has agreed terms at a total of 20 House of Fraser stores, including 15 earmarked for closure under the previous CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement), safeguarding 3,500 jobs.

The 15 stores at which new terms have been agreed are: Altrincham, Aylesbury, Birkenhead, Camberley, Carlisle, Darlington, Doncaster, Grimsby, High Wycombe, Lincoln, London (Oxford Street), Middlesbrough, Plymouth, Skipton and Telford.

House of Fraser has also agreed new terms for its stores at Huddersfield, Leeds, Maidstone, Solihull, and Sutton Coldfield.

Ashley said: “It’s great news that we’ve already rescued approximately half (48%) of the stores that were due to close in January under a CVA announced by the previous owners.

“We continue to hope to save at least 80% of stores. We’ve showed what we can achieve on the British high street when we work together with landlords. I would like to thank those landlords who have helped us to rescue approximately 3,500 jobs at the stores we have saved to date.

“However, 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.”

He added: “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.”

 

Readers' comments (2)

  • Article should say ‘for now’. He’s created deals that bridge a period of time that are temporary and not sustainable or commercially acceptable for landlords. What happens thereafter remains to be seen. Trends suggest closures inevitable.

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  • Is this really going to make much difference or is it delaying the inevitable. Suppliers have already lost millions and consequently the confidence that goes with it. Realistically the department store format is dead and no longer understood by consumers.

    Wouldn't it be great if independents could go to their landlords and demand 6 months free rent or a 50% discount? Yet Mike Ashley is happy to blame the landlords when they are trying to maintain their own business forgetting that it is his new business which is the greedy one and not them. Yes of course landlords are part of the problems on the high street but that is a wider problem that needs to be addressed and not through CVA deals.

    As usual the people that pay the price of all of this are the employees who risk loosing their livelihoods.

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