House of Fraser: Sports Direct in talks as closures loom

Owner of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley. Picture: Getty
Owner of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley. Picture: Getty
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Sports Direct is in talks with House of Fraser landlords in a move that could hasten potential store closures if agreements on rents and leases fail to be reached.

Commercial property services firm CBRE confirmed yesterday it had been appointed to advise Sports Direct “on all property-related matters in relation to its recent acquisition of House of Fraser”.

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Some landlords have already been in touch with CBRE.

Talks will centre on rental costs and the length of leases, although councils will be part of negotiations in some cases given the impact of business rates on the retailer.

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House of Fraser has been stung by soaring costs and falling consumer spending power. Before the latest crisis, House of Fraser had recently agreed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with landlords to close half of its stores, with 6,000 jobs in the firing line.

Sports Direct founder and chief executive Mike Ashley said last week the retailer would “do our best to keep as many stores open as possible” after it launched a £90 million rescue of House of Fraser.

But doubt still remains over the long-term future of jobs and whether Mr Ashley will shut underperforming stores as part of a restructuring programme.

Iconic Edinburgh store Jenners is owned by House of Fraser.