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Department Stores

Mike Ashley plans to keep 80% of House of Fraser stores open

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has vowed to keep 80% of House of Fraser’s stores open, after he saved the department store chain from administration in a £90m buyout last week (Friday 10 August).

When the department store entered a CVA in June, it planned to shut 31 of its 59 outlets with its store in Edinburgh closing ahead of the 15 September deadline.

Sports Direct already owned an 11% stake in House of Fraser and since acquiring the 169-year-old chain, has abandoned its restructuring plan.

In an interview with The Sun, Ashley revealed his vision to turn the chain into the “Harrods of the high street”, saying he would like to introduce a “concierge click and collect” offering at House of Fraser to match Harrods’ “exceptional services”.

He also said he wanted to introduce luxury brands such as Gucci, Prada and Stone Island to the department store, and described the absence of these brands as “the biggest thing missing”.

Ashley then made an attempt to reassure landlords who were concerned about the number of rent reductions they had seen due to the CVA. He said: “Give us a chance and we will try to keep as many open as we can. We are here to get House of Fraser back to where it once was.”

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