MORE HOUSE OF FRASER STORES SET TO CLOSE
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.