MORE HOUSE OF FRASER STORES SET TO CLOSE

Wales On Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ANNA LEWIS Re­porter anna.lewis@waleson­line.co.uk

THE fu­ture of the two House of Fraser stores in Wales re­mains un­cer­tain as the chain to­day re­leased a list of three stores that are cer­tain to close and 20 more that have been saved.

Ques­tions re­main over the fu­ture of both How­ells in Cardiff and House of Fraser in Cwm­bran fol­low­ing talks with land­lords over the price of rent.

House of Fraser branches in Ed­in­burgh, Hull and Swin­don are set to close, Mike Ash­ley con­firmed this morn­ing, blam­ing land­lords for putting hun­dreds of jobs at risk.

Mean­while 20 branches will be saved from clo­sure as a re­sult of dis­cus­sions be­tween the Sports Di­rect ty­coon and land­lords over new rental terms.

But it means that both Cardiff and Cwm­bran are among 36 of the re­tailer’s 59 UK stores whose fu­ture re­mains in jeop­ardy.

Staff at lo­ca­tions which are set to close are now go­ing through re­dun­dancy con­sul­ta­tion.

A fourth House of Fraser store in Bath is also at risk of clo­sure as the busi­ness­man tus­sles with Bath City Coun­cil, the store’s land­lord.

Bil­lion­aire Ash­ley, who also owns New­cas­tle United, de­scribed land­lords who have re­fused new terms as “greedy”.

He said: “I am dis­ap­pointed that in my opin­ion a small num­ber of greedy land­lords still refuse to be rea­son­able.

“Those land­lords whom we have been un­able to agree terms with in­clude, but are not lim­ited to, the fol­low­ing: Parabola Hope Street LLP, Re­de­fine Paragon Square Hull Lim­ited, and FI Real Es­tate Man­age­ment Ltd.”

It is un­der­stood that land­lords are re­luc­tant to agree to the low, or in some cases zero, rents Mr Ash­ley is de­mand­ing.

The en­tre­pre­neur has pledged to save around 47 of House of Fraser’s 59 out­lets since buy­ing the chain and re­cently struck a deal to save House of Fraser’s flag­ship store in Ox­ford Street.

Mr Ash­ley added: “We’ve showed what we can achieve on the British high street when we work to­gether with land­lords.

“I would like to thank those land­lords who have helped us to res­cue ap­prox­i­mately 3,500 jobs at the stores we have saved to date. I am call­ing on ev­ery­body to pull to­gether, in­clud­ing land­lords and lo­cal author­i­ties, in or­der to help to save as many House of Fraser stores and jobs as pos­si­ble on the great British high street.”

Stores that will re­main open in­clude: Al­trin­cham, Ayles­bury, Birken­head, Cam­ber­ley, Carlisle, Dar­ling­ton, Don­caster, Grimsby, High Wy­combe, Lin­coln, Lon­don (Ox­ford Street), Mid­dles­brough, Ply­mouth, Skip­ton, Telford, Hud­der­s­field, Leeds, Maid­stone, Soli­hull and Sut­ton Cold­field.

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