Mike Ashley has warned that, despite rent relief, many locations remain “unsustainable”.
The owner used the company’s latest results, for the six months to 27 September, to address current challenges faced by House of Fraser, including what he described as “serious under-investment” in stores and appropriate support services.
Mike Ashley, who bought the department store chain a year ago, commented: “We are doing as much as we can to realistically save as many jobs and stores as possible. We are continuing to review the longer-term portfolio and would expect the number of retained stores to continue to reduce in the next 12 months”.
However, he also stated that a £605m bill from Belgium’s tax authority would not lead to “material liabilities” and said the group hoped to find a resolution soon.
Sports Direct shareholders met on Monday and voted to change the retailer’s corporate name to Frasers Group, as part of plans to move upmarket, and shift the company focus from sporting goods. The group also owns designer fashion brand Flannels, video game shop chain Game Digital, clothing retailer Jack Wills, cycle retailer Evans Cycles and online furniture shop Sofa.com.
When House of Fraser went into administration, it had 59 stores, two warehouses and employed almost 16,000 staff. It has been reported that seven of those stores have been closed to date.