House of Fraser stores in Edinburgh, Hull and Swindon will close, with a fourth in Bath is also up for consideration, as Mike Ashley struggles to agree on new terms with the retailer’s landlords.
Ashley bought House of Fraser out of administration for £90 million in August, vowing at the time to save 80 per cent, or 47 out of 59 stores.
To date 20 stores have been saved from closure, saving around 3,500 jobs.
However the retail tycoon has since told the Press Association that he has been unable to save the stores in Edinburgh, Hull and Swindon after failing to agree new terms.
The hundreds of staff at those locations will now have to go through redundancy consultation.
Bath’s House of Fraser could also be added to that list as Ashley continues to negotiate with the store’s landlord, the city council, over new rental terms.
It is thought Ashley has faced a kickback from landlords that are reluctant to agree on low or, in some cases, zero rent rates Ashley and Sports Direct are demanding. “I am disappointed that in my opinion a small number of greedy landlords still refuse to be reasonable,” he said.
The Sports Direct owner originally vowed to keep 80 per cent of House of Fraser stores open, and has so far managed to strike a deal to save House of Fraser’s famous Oxford Street store as well as stores up and down the country, from Carlisle to Camberley and Sutton Coldfield.
“We have shown what we can achieve on the British high street when we work together with landlords,” said Ashley. “I would like to thank those landlords who have helped us to rescue approximately 3500 jobs at the stores we have saved to date.”