House of Fraser website "could reopen next week" - report
House of Fraser may be about to take a crucial step forward under its new owners with news that its website could reopen as soon as next week and with new deliveries beginning to appear in its stores.
Due to a dispute between HoF and its warehouse operator, the giant department stores’s shelves have been increasingly empty in recent weeks, with no new deliveries arriving (and some suppliers pulling stock out). Meanwhile the dispute with logistics firm XPO has meant the webstore has been out of action for three weeks since shortly after the company’s administration filing and £90 million buyout by Sports Direct.
XPO was owed £13 million when the department store chain went under and the failure of the two to reach agreement has kept the e-tail site out of action and has also seen cancelled customer orders and an ongoing wait for refunds.
According to reports, HoF has struck a deal with XPO which should allow the webstore to reopen and which has also seen it restarting delivery of goods to the stores from its Milton Keynes site. However, it has also emerged that this warehouse is set to close in November. Its Wellingborough warehouse will stay open until March, at least, but the deal means that 300 XPO jobs are at risk. Analysts expect Sports Direct is to use its own warehouse to distribute House of Fraser goods in future.
The trade union representing workers at the XPO sites, the GMB, expressed disappointment at the deal saying that “XPO and Sports Direct are clearly only interested in the stock in the warehouse. They couldn’t care less about our members or their livelihoods.”
A report in The Guardian said neither Sports Direct nor XPO have commented on the deal.
It also said that Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley continues to negotiate with store landlords to try to secure the future of as many HoF shops as possible.
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