Four more House of Fraser stores are set to close
House of Fraser said today that its Intu-owned sites in Norwich and Nottingham, as well as shopping centre stores in Lakeside in Essex and Metrocentre in Gateshead, will close in early 2019.
The latest closures come after unsuccessful discussions between Sports Direct and retail property giant Intu, which specialises in shopping centre management.
“We had multiple meetings with Intu, but we were no further forward after 14 weeks," said Mike Ashley, the billionaire owner of Sports Direct.
“Unfortunately, these stores now face closing in the new year. I urge other institutional landlords to be more proactive to help save the House of Fraser stores in their schemes.”
Intu said it held "numerous" meetings with Sports Direct "at the highest level" but the parties have not been able to reach an agreement.
"Of the four stores, two are city centre locations and two are super-regionals, each offering unique opportunities," a spokesperson for Intu said.
"Our teams are looking at bespoke solutions that will create the right tenant mix to meet the needs of the local market, attracting more customers and ultimately benefiting all our tenants.
"Ideas on the table include not only other large-scale retailers but also non-traditional shopping centre uses."
Ashley bought the department store chain out of administration for £90m in August, but has announced a string of closures lately, including House of Fraser's flagship Kendals store in Manchester.
The entrepreneur hopes to save at least 80 per cent of the chains stores, and has previously blamed “greedy” landlords for closures.
Edinburgh, Hull and Swindon stores face the axe, while the future of a store in Bath is also uncertain.
Sports Direct has vowed to keep open 15 stores previously earmarked for closure, while Ashley has paid £95m for the freehold of the chain's very first store in Glasgow.