House of Fraser intu stores to remain open
Four House of Fraser stores located within intu centres will now remain open, having previously been slated for closure after the department store's owner Sports Direct and the shopping centre operator had failed to agree new lease terms.
However the branches in Lakeside in Essex, Metrocentre in Gateshead, Norwich and Nottingham schemes will now continue to operate following “constructive discussions” between the two parties has led to an "interim agreement".
“We are committed to working with all our retailers to ensure they are perfectly placed to showcase their brands and draw in shoppers. Our high-footfall winning destinations are designed to help all our tenants flourish.
“We confirm that following constructive discussions with Sports Direct, we have reached an interim agreement on four House of Fraser stores at intu Chapelfield, intu Lakeside, intu Metrocentre and intu Victoria Centre,” a spokesperson for the shopping centre owner confirmed.
When Mike Ashley's Sports Direct acquired House of Fraser out of administration last summer for £90m, the retail tycoon said it was his ambition to keep as many of the 59 stores open as possible. Its previous management had said it would close more than half of the stores.
Since acquiring the business, Sports Direct has saved at least 25 stores, including flagships on London's Oxford Street and Glasgow. Branches in both Manchester and Hull were also given last-minute reprieves having been slated for closure.
Stores scheduled for closure include Exeter, Shrewsbury, Cirencester and Edinburgh. All of the stores acquired as part of the buy-out deal are being operated on short-term leases until longer terms arrangements are in place.