Sports Di­rect strikes £95m deal for Frasers build­ing

The Herald - - NEWS - KA­LY­EENA MAKO­RTOFF

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’.

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