More House of Fraser stores set to close, says Mike Ashley

By Becky Bargh 16-Dec-2019

The retail tycoon, whose company, Sports Direct, bought the retailer last year, said ‘terminal’ issues were still evident in the business

More House of Fraser stores set to close, says Mike Ashley

More House of Fraser stores are expected to close in 2020 due to “unsustainable outsourcing and financing”, warns retail tycoon Mike Ashley.

Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, which bought the department store chain a year ago, said “terminal” issues were still evident in the business, including under investment and the appropriate support services for its stores.

He did not specify which stores will be next to close, but noted the decision would be made in the next few months.

Ashley also blamed the current business rates regime for its crippling of the high street.

“The current system is unintelligible to almost everyone but true business rates experts, from the transitional relief to revaluation process and effective dates to base liability multipliers,” said Ashley.

When House of Fraser went into administration in 2018, the company set out to close 31 of its 59 stores, including its Oxford Street store, affecting around 6,000 jobs.

Ashley said the group would make it a priority to save as many jobs as possible.

“We are doing as much as we can to realistically save as many jobs and stores as possible,” he noted.

The announcement comes less than a week after the retailer was named the ‘worst’ department store in the UK by British shoppers.

The results were collated by and showed 86% of House of Fraser’s reviews classified as ‘bad’.

Meanwhile, the retailer only managed to score 1.3 out of 5 in its trust score.

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