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Shoppers walk past the King William Street branch of House of Fraser in central London. Image: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Shoppers walk past the King William Street branch of House of Fraser in central London. Image: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Mike Ashley Promises to Keep 47 House of Fraser Shops Open

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Shoppers walk past the King William Street branch of House of Fraser in central London. Image: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Billionaire Mike Ashley, has promised to keep 47 House of Fraser locations open for business. This represents most of the 59 stores the Sports Direct founder purchased earlier this month.

Keeping House of Fraser Open

British billionaire Mike Ashley has promised to keep the doors open at 47 of the 59 House of Fraser store locations he purchased earlier this month.

“In a year’s time you can hold my feet to the fire on that,” said Ashley in a media interview.

Ashley’s company purchased House of Fraser for £90 million a week earlier, only hours after it went into administration. The billionaire is now seeking to convert the business into what he has called the “Harrods of high street,” including personal shopping services.

Preventing Closure

Sports Direct purchased all the stores in the chain, including all 31 that had been slated to shut down during one of the company’s original restructuring strategies. That strategy has now been cancelled.

Instead, Ashley has vowed to keep open 80 percent of the 59 stores he purchased. He has also appointed CBRE property experts to provide him with advising in upcoming negotiations with landlords.

“Give us a chance and we will try to keep as many open as we can. We are here to get House of Fraser back to where it once was,” he said in an interview, while addressing landlords for the chain’s store locations.

Plans for the Brand

Ashley also owns Flannels, a designer chain. That chain sells high end labels such as Fendi and Burberry. He now wants to expand the number of luxury brands House of Fraser has to offer. He intends to bring it to a more up-market level.

“In Harrods you get some exceptional services. What we would like to do is introduce a ‘concierge click and collect’ at House of Fraser,” he explained. “When you go online and say you want to collect goods in-store, you should be able to book a time, book a changing room and book a stylist.”

He has stated that Flannels or even Sports Direct may take over entire stores within some of the larger store locations such as the one in Birmingham.

“We think the biggest and most important thing House of Fraser is missing is luxury brands. We think it will make a big difference,” said Ashley.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.