More House of Fraser store closures imminent as landlords reject deals

House of Fraser could be hit by a “significant” number of store closures after landlords rejected Mike Ashley’s rent proposals.

According to The Sunday Times, Ashley met with property agents CBRE last week to discuss which of the department store’s remaining estate should be shut as part of the dispute.

After purchasing the retailer out of administration in August for GBP 90 million, Ashley vowed to save 80 % of its stores, or 47 out of its total 59, backtracking on previous plans to close 31 stores under a CVA.

In September, Ashley agreed terms on 20 stores and has been operating the estate on short term licences which allow him to hand over the keys with just two months’ notice.

It is understood that landlords have rejected proposals which would see Ashley pay no rent and just business rates on some locations, and performance-based rents on others.

Last month, House of Fraser confirmed that its flagship Kendals Store in Manchester is due to cease trading, following news that stores in Exeter and Shrewsbury are also due to close in early 2019, leading to hundreds of job losses.

To date, 22 stores have been saved from closure, saving around 3500 jobs.