17th Dec, 2018

House of Fraser purchase move offers hope for Leamington store

THERE could be some hope for the future of Leamington’s House of Fraser after Sports Direct bosses swooped in to buy the struggling chain.

The department store on the Parade was one of 31 set to be closed in a bid to secure the future of the store – meaning some 200 job losses.

But after Hamleys owner C banner pulled out of the deal to invest in the remaining 28 shops last week, the chain fell into administration.

After administrators were summoned earlier today (Friday) Sports Direct chief executive Mike Ashley – who already owned a ten per cent stake in the department store – stepped in and paid £90million in cash to save House of Fraser, which employs some 17,000 people nationwide.

The sale included all its UK stores, the branding and all of its stock.

While it has not been confirmed whether the stores earmarked for closure would be saved, Mr Ashley said the company aimed to keep as many open as possible.

He said: “We will do our best to keep as many stores open as possible. It is vital that we restore the right level of ongoing relationships with the luxury brands. Our deal was conservative, consistent and simple. My ambition is to transform House of Fraser into Harrods of the High Street.”

House of Fraser said it was unable to comment at this time.

In light of the news, Warwick District Council leader Coun Andrew Mobbs said the council remained hopeful and supportive of the employees in the Leamington branch.

He added: “The House of Fraser store on the Parade has again been offered our support and, along with our partners, we will provide assistance in any way that is helpful during this time. We will await further news over the coming weeks and months to see how the sale of House of Fraser to Mike Ashley will specifically impact upon the Royal Leamington Spa store.

“We are hopeful that this may secure the long-term future of the employees and the historic brand.”

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