Rushden Lakes’ House of Fraser not on list of store closures

House of Fraser at Rushden Lakes
House of Fraser at Rushden Lakes

House of Fraser has announced plans to close more than half of its shops - but the Rushden Lakes store is not one of those identified for closure.

The department store filed proposals for Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) yesterday (Wednesday).

Bosses say these proposals are central to the significant restructuring of the business, without which House of Fraser does not have a viable future.

House of Fraser currently operates 59 leased stores across the UK and Ireland, including the Rushden Lakes branch which only opened last August.

Following a review of the group’s entire property portfolio, the directors of the companies have identified 31 stores for closure which will reduce the total store estate to 28 stores.

As part of this CVA process, the company also proposes to relocate the Baker Street head office and the Granite House office in Glasgow to new locations to help reduce costs and secure House of Fraser’s future.

The company has held constructive initial discussions with landlords and other key stakeholders.

Pending approval of the CVAs, it is anticipated that those stores scheduled for closure will remain open until early in 2019.

If this process is approved it will affect up to 2,000 House of Fraser staff and a further 4,000 brand and concession partners.

Those impacted by the proposed changes have already been informed.

The consultation on the CVA proposal will take place over the next 17 days and House of Fraser will seek approval from its creditors on June 22.

During the period of the proposal, the company will continue to trade as normal both through its stores and online.

Frank Slevin, chairman of House of Fraser, 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 whilst 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.”

Alex Williamson, CEO of House of Fraser said: “Today’s announcement is one of the most important in this company’s 169-year history.

“We, as a management team, have a responsibility to take necessary steps to ensure House of Fraser’s survival, which is why we are making these proposals.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all my colleagues at House of Fraser for working tirelessly throughout this difficult period. We are fully commited to supporting those personally affected by the proposals.”

The House of Fraser stores identified for closure under the CVA proposal are: Altrincham, Aylesbury, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Camberley, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chichester, Cirencester, Cwmbran, Darlington, Doncaster, Edinburgh Frasers, Epsom, Grimsby, High Wycombe, Hull, Leamington Spa, Lincoln, London Oxford Street, London King Willam Street, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Shrewsbury, Skipton, Swindon, Telford, Wolverhampton, Worcester.

To read more about the Rushden Lakes store, click here