The closure of 31 House of Fraser department stores is sad news for the retail sector and will affect up to 6,000 jobs nationally. House of Fraser operates 59 shops throughout the UK and 2,000 direct House of Fraser jobs will disappear, alongside 4,000 jobs in concession and branded outlets that operate within the stores.
More about House of Fraser store closures
The House of Fraser closures are part of a business rescue deal and even the flagship Oxford Street store in London will be closing in 2019.
Alex Williamson, the chief executive of House of Fraser commented that the decision to close the shops was “not taken lightly” and this “brutal” decision was “as tough as it gets”. He added: “It is very dramatic for people that we care about a great deal. I find it personally very emotional, and I am not making this decision based on anything other than what I consider to be absolutely the best option for House of Fraser and all of our stakeholders.”
House of Fraser has Chinese owners and has conditionally agreed to sell on 51% of their holding in House of Fraser to the Chinese proprietor of the Hamley’s store. This sale is conditional on receipt of approval to the restructuring of the House of Fraser business. If the rescue deal is to go ahead it relies upon the approval of at least 75% of its creditors and this needs to be in place by 22 June.
Some of the additional stores which will be closing include:
Frank Slevin is the Chairman of House of Fraser and says that the entire retail sector is currently facing “fundamental change,” he added: “Our legacy store estate has created an unsustainable cost base which, without restructuring, presents an existential threat to the business.”
House of Fraser is also in the process of attempting to negotiate rent reductions on the stores it is planning to retain. The group hopes to shave 25% off rents for 10 stores and is also seeking 70% reductions in rent costs for the 31 stores which will be closing in seven months’ time.
If you’re a House of Fraser retail executive board member affected by this news, get in touch with Anthony Gregg to discuss the variety of high-level positions for which we are recruiting. Our major clients entrust us with the retail executive search task for top-level positions, so we could have just the right opportunity available to suit your needs.