House of Fraser stays open after last-minute deal
PUBLISHED: 10:12 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:05 23 January 2019
House of Fraser is to stay open in Norwich.
The extraordinary U-turn came after owner Mike Ashley seemingly struck a deal with Chapelfield shopping centre owner Intu.
Store manager John Higginbottom revealed the news to staff this morning and praised their hard work during a “difficult time”.
“We are delighted with the news,” he said. “Obviously we are over the moon to be staying open in Norwich and everyone is very happy that we can move forward from what has been a very difficult period.
“The staff are obviously very pleased. They have been very professional throughout the past few months and worked very hard even with this hanging over them. They deserve a lot of praise.”
The proposed closure came as part of the high street giant’s national review of stores after Mr Ashley rescued the failing chain from administration. It is believed the chain and Intu initially failed to come to an agreement regarding rents.
House of Fraser was the flagship tenant for Chapelfield when it opened.
Mr Higginbottom added: “I am not sure of the details of the deal as yet. I am sure more will come out as time goes by. At this point we are just looking forward to getting the ‘Closing Down’ signs down.”
Intu said all the threatened House of Fraser stores in their centres would now remain.
A spokeswoman added: “We are committed to working with all our retailers to ensure they are perfectly placed to showcase their brands and draw in shoppers. Our high-footfall winning destinations are designed to help all our tenants flourish.
“We confirm that following constructive discussions with SportsDirect, we have reached an interim agreement on four House of Fraser stores at Intu Chapelfield, Intu Lakeside, Intu Metrocentre and Intu Victoria Centre.”
A House of Fraser head of elevation Mike Murray said: “After the stalled talks with Intu we are happy to announce that we have come to an agreement that will help secure the future of House of Fraser stores in Norwich, Metro Centre, Lakeside and Nottingham.
“This is great news for over a thousand employees whose jobs have now been saved. We would like to thank Intu and all of our colleagues for their hard work and patience throughout the past five months. This shows further commitment to the high street and the turnaround of House of Fraser.”