House of Fraser announces three store closures, website re-opens
House of Fraser's new owner Sports Direct is continuing to blame “greedy landlords” after it announced that three of the chain’s 59 department stores will definitely close. Those three locations include the Hull and Swindon branches plus the Frasers store in Edinburgh.
That's a step back from the closure plan that had been announced by the company before its administration filing with only 29 shops set to remain open at that point and 31 due to be shuttered.
But Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has been keen to stress that he wants to keep as many of the physical shops are open as possible and he has negotiated improved rental terms with the majority of the company’s landlords.
He said that deals had been struck for 20 stores (including the Oxford Street flagship that had also been on the original closure list) and that 3,500 jobs had been saved as a result of the full closure plan not going ahead.
While the three stores that have now been announced for closure are a vast reduction on the 31 that would have been shut had the retailer’s original CVA plan gone through, there’s a chance that more could close with negotiations still carrying on.
And those negotiations have included improved terms for sites that were always planned to stay open. The Huddersfield, Leeds, Maidstone, Solihull, and Sutton Coldfield branches weren’t on the closure list but now have new lease deals.
Of those that would have closed, terms have now been agreed on Altrincham, Aylesbury, Birkenhead, Camberley, Carlisle, Darlington, Doncaster, Grimsby, High Wycombe, Lincoln, London Oxford Street as mentioned, plus Middlesbrough, Plymouth, Skipton and Telford.
But the company's store in Bath remains at risk. That location is owned by Bath City Council and it has been reported the council is not prepared to agree new terms.
Further progress seems to have been made in the wider business with the House of Fraser e-tail now open again.
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