Lux­ury store fu­ture boost

Evening Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY STE­WART PATER­SON

THE fu­ture of Glas­gow’s fa­mous House of Fraser store has been given a boost af­ter its new own­ers bought the flag­ship build­ing.

The move se­cures hun­dreds of jobs in the city .

GLAS­GOW’S top shop­ping street has been given a boost as House of Fraser has bought the store’s Buchanan Street build­ing from its land­lord.

It com­mits the firm, re­cently taken over by Mike Ash­ley’s Sports Di­rect, to the city and se­cures hun­dreds of jobs.

He has paid more for the prop­erty than he did for the en­tire busi­ness in a deal wel­comed as proof of the strength of Glas­gow as a top re­tail desti­na­tion.

Mr Ash­ley bought the House of Fraser busi­ness and its 59 stores for £90m ear­lier this year.

He has now bought the free­hold to Glas­gow’s most fa­mous store for £95m and plans to en­hance its rep­u­ta­tion for lux­ury shop­ping brands with an am­bi­tion for a “Har­rods of the north”.

The deal se­cures the fu­ture of the store, while oth­ers in­clud­ing on Princes Street in Ed­in­burgh, will close.

Ash­ley had pre­vi­ously crit­i­cised “greedy land­lords” of some of the stores as he tried to ne­go­ti­ate new terms af­ter tak­ing over.

There are around 800 staff work­ing in the Buchanan Street store for Frasers and in in store con­ces­sions and its pres­ence as an an­chor busi­ness draw­ing in shop­pers is cru­cial to the suc­cess of other shops in the street.

Busi­ness lead­ers in Glas­gow were pleased with the lat­est House of Fraser de­vel­op­ment.

Richard Muir, deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of Glas­gow Cham­ber of Com­merce, said: “An in­vest­ment of this mag­ni­tude is a tremen­dous boost for Glas­gow’s re­tail and com­mer­cial prop­erty sec­tors.

“It is tes­ta­ment to the city cen­tre’s of­fer­ing as a lead­ing re­tail and leisure desti­na­tion, with the sec­tors con­tribut­ing £5.46 bil­lion to the re­gion’s econ­omy as well as gen­er­at­ing over 33,000 full time jobs

“Buchanan Street is a prime shop­ping hub and is also achiev­ing rental growth in a mar­ket that is oth­er­wise slow, with nu­mer­ous new brands in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria’s Secret and Ne­spresso set­ting up shop in re­cent months.

“This is great news for Glas­gow as we con­tinue to evolve with the ever-chang­ing re­tail mar­ket and en­cour­age mil­lions of vis­i­tors to our city each year.”

The new own­ers said they have big plans for the Glas­gow out­let. Michael Mur­ray, head of el­e­va­tion for Sports Di­rect In­ter­na­tional, the new own­ers of House of Fraser, said: “We are over­whelmed and proud to own such an iconic desti­na­tion.

“Ac­quir­ing the free­hold en­ables us to el­e­vate and in­vest in the store in or­der to part­ner with a broad range of lux­ury brands in fu­ture. This is fan­tas­tic news for all par­ties.”

A spokesman said: “This ac­qui­si­tion pro­vides a fan­tas­tic base to cre­ate and build on the ex­ist­ing lux­ury of­fer in or­der to cre­ate the Har­rods of the North.

“It is great for Glas­gow and Scot­land, demon­strat­ing House of Fraser’s sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ment to trans­form­ing the com­pany. A home of lux­ury brands has been saved.”

The firm has bought the prop­erty from the Strath­clyde Pen­sion Fund which is ad­min­is­tered by Glas­gow City Coun­cil.

Su­san Aitken, leader of Glas­gow City Coun­cil said: “The House of Fraser store on Buchanan Street is a city in­sti­tu­tion, much loved by gen­er­a­tions of Glaswe­gians.

“A ma­jor in­vest­ment on this kind of scale is a clear vote of con­fi­dence in Glas­gow; and credit must also go to hun­dreds of Fraser’s staff, who are ab­so­lutely in­te­gral to the busi­ness’ suc­cess and its en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity.

“With the fu­ture of this iconic re­tailer’s Glas­gow pres­ence se­cured, we look for­ward to the new own­ers build­ing on its cher­ished re­la­tion­ship with shop­pers and rep­u­ta­tion as a val­ued city em­ployer for al­most 170 years.”

The flag­ship House of Fraser store in Glas­gow’s Buchanan Street

Mike Ash­ley, owner of Sports Di­rect and House of Fraser

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