UK department store retailer House of Fraser (HoF) has confirmed it is to shutter a further four stores, all of which are located in Intu shopping centres.
In a statement today (14 November), new owner Sports Direct said the locations facing closure are Lakeside, Metrocentre, Norwich, and Nottingham.
The Mike Ashley-owned company acquired House of Fraser in a GBP90m (US$115m) deal in August.
“We had various meetings with the landlord, Intu Properties plc, and adopted a flexible approach,” Sports Direct said, adding despite its “best efforts” it has 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,” it said.
Ashley, meanwhile, has urged other landlords to adopt a more “proactive” approach.
“We had multiple meetings with Intu, but we were no further forward after 14 weeks,” he said. “Unfortunately, these stores now face closing in the New Year. I urge other institutional landlords to be more proactive to help save the HoF stores in their schemes.”
A spokesperson from Intu 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 SportsDirect including at the highest level to try to agree terms. While we cannot discuss the detail, we have been unable to reach agreement.”
The company added it is “enthusiastic” about the opportunity to re-engineer and re-let the underperforming spaces, noting ideas on the table include not only other large-scale retailers but also non-traditional shopping centre uses.