More House of Fraser closures announced
today Nov 14, 2018
House of Fraser has announced four more confirmed store closures as it has failed to reach an agreement with a key landlord over rent-free/reduced rent deals.
The company said that 14 weeks of talks with shopping malls giant Intu did not result in a deal and it would now close its doors in Lakeside in Essex, the Metrocentre mall in Gateshead and its stores in Norwich and Nottingham.
Meanwhile Intu said it was looking for new opportunities for the four locations and that the four HoF stores had been underperforming on its sites.
Intu is perhaps in a stronger position than many UK landlords as many of its shopping centres are in demand, despite the tough retail market, and it could find it easier to secure new tenants for large spaces – even if those spaces had to be subdivided – than some other property owners would.
Lakeside, for instance, was this week named as one of the top shopping malls in Europe in terms of retail turnover.
HoF said of the situation: "We had various meetings with the landlord, Intu Properties, and adopted a flexible approach. Despite our best efforts we have been unable to agree reasonable terms for these stores to continue trading. Sadly, we are now in consultation with staff about the fact these stores face closure. We hope other institutional landlords will continue to work with us in order to save stores and jobs.”
While HoF didn't confirm how many jobs be lost as a result of the latest announcement, it did say that the stores would close in the New Year.
Intu meanwhile, which is currently the target of a takeover approach, said: "We have been advised this morning that the four House of Fraser stores in our portfolio will be closing in early 2019, representing around 1% of our secured rent and 526,000 sq ft of retail space. We have had numerous meetings with Sports Direct including at the highest level to try to agree terms.”
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