Sports Direct strikes £95m deal for Frasers building
SPORTS Direct has vowed to create the “Harrods of the North” after clinching a £95 million deal to buy Glasgow’s Frasers building in a move that saves 800 jobs.
The retailer said it would continue to operate the 350,000sq ft site as Frasers and will invest in the property to “further elevate and enhance this iconic department store”.
Plans for its revamp are being driven by its House of Fraser brand, which itself was bought by Sports Direct after collapsing into administration in August. The company said it was “great news” for the House of Fraser workforce, including the 800 in-store jobs it says have now been saved.
The site is being bought from Glasgow City Council, which is the administering authority for The Strathclyde Pension Fund.
The deal is set to be completed in January 2020.
House of Fraser said the “Harrods of the North” vision would be realised with the site continuing to host a range of luxury brand names.
These include Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Prada and Gucci.
Welcoming the development, Michael Murray, head of elevation at Sports Direct, 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.”
Mr Murray added: “This is fantastic news for all parties.”
Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow Council, has also welcomed the commitment to maintain the presence of Frasers within the city.
“A major investment on this kind of scale is a clear vote of confidence in Glasgow, and credit must also go to hundreds of Frasers staff who are absolutely integral to the business’s success and its enduring popularity with city shoppers,” she said.
“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.”
Frasers’ collapse was one of a number of corporate failures which have hit the UK . The economy has been affected by administrations from the likes of Toys R Us, Maplin and Poundworld.
THE £20 billion Strathclyde Pension Fund has sold its freehold interest in one of Glasgow’s most famous retail buildings.
The fund, which has more than 230,000 members, offloaded House of Fraser’s Buchanan Street home to Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for £95 million. It means the controversial retailer paid more for the building, which spans around 350,000 square feet over several floors, than he did for the 59-strong House of Fraser chain when Sports Direct acquired it out of administration in a pre-pack deal worth £90m in August.
Glasgow City Council is the administering authority for the fund, whose diverse membership includes former and current local authority, police, university and college staff.
The Strathclyde fund, which began investing in the building around a decade ago, acquiring it
It is testament to the city centre as a destination
outright more recently, has property investments around the world. In Scotland, these include the Port Glasgow Retail Park as part of its Clydebuilt partnership with property firm Ediston. A spokesman for the fund said: “Ultimately, we manage our investments with the aim of securing the best return for our members, who are saving for their futures.”
Sports Direct, which has been in dispute with landlords at other House of Fraser buildings, said 800 jobs at the property had been saved as a result of the deal. It pledged to invest to “further elevate and enhance this iconic department store”.
Richard Muir of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce said: “An investment of this magnitude is a tremendous boost for Glasgow’s retail and commercial property sectors.”
Sports Direct has vowed to create the ‘Harrods of the North’.