House of Fraser in Leamington set to close - The Leamington Observer

House of Fraser in Leamington set to close

Laura Kearns 7th Jun, 2018 Updated: 7th Jun, 2018   0

HOUSE of Fraser in Leamington is set to close its doors.

The store on The Parade is expected to remain open until next January and is one of 31 out of 59 branches the company wants to shut.

Some 6,000 jobs are believed to be affected nationwide while in Leamington nearly 200 jobs are at risk.

A spokesman told the Observer all employees would be supported and deployed where possible.

The store opened over two hours later than usual on the morning following the announcement.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western said the closure would affect many people across the district.

He told the Observer: “The closure of Leamington’s House of Fraser is devastating news for the many employees and their families in our area. The retail sector urgently needs a level playing field, not the sticking plaster of government’s Portas- style projects. Small and medium sized businesses are the cornerstone of our economy and are under immense pressure from unfair business rates and a difficult environment for high street retail.

“Our Town Centres need greater support from Government and local authorities, and this desperate news and underlines just how vulnerable our town centres currently are.”

Leamington BID director Stephanie Kerr said the team was sad hear the news of the store and has urged residents to work together to support other businesses in the town.

She said: “Our thoughts are with the staff as we have come to know there is something wonderful about them and their commitment to serving the customers of the town.

“In recent months, BID has supported House of Fraser’s efforts to collaborate with independent businesses in the town to enhance the shopping experience. This type of creative partnership is something we are keen to foster.

“The BID has been recently renewed and an important part of our role is helping to support businesses and guide change so we will also look to work with the landlord and other partners to do this.

“After ten years of the BID, we also know Leamington is a wonderful, creative town with a lot happening and the people of Leamington will help us achieve this. It is more important than ever that we work together to support the businesses we know and love.”

House of Fraser, a company which has been running for 169 years, says the closures form part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – a form of insolvency which enables business to rearrange deals with landlords. It includes reducing rents by 25 per cent at the other stores which could remain open.

Creditors will vote on the announced plans on June 22, and if given the green light will see stores in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and its flagship shop in London among those which will close.

Chairman Frank Slevin said: “The retail industry is undergoing fundamental change and House of Fraser urgently needs to adapt to this fast-changing landscape in order to give it a future and allow it to thrive. Our legacy store estate has created an unsustainable cost base, which, without restructuring, presents an existential threat to the business.

“So while closing stores is a very difficult decision, especially given the length of relationship House of Fraser has with all its locations, there should be no doubt that it is absolutely necessary if we are to continue to trade and be competitive.”

The restructuring is a condition of a deal that will give control of House of Fraser to the Chinese owner of Hamleys.


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