Luxury store future boost
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