Struggling UK retailer House of Fraser has suffered a difficult Christmas trading period, with sales dropping year-on-year in the 12 weeks up to December 18, according to Kantar Worldpanel figures reported by the Telegraph.
In August, Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley bought House of Fraser for 90 million pounds when the company went into administration. Since then, Ashley has been scaling back plans to close half of its stores. In September, Ashley agreed terms of 20 stores, and has been operating short-term licences where just two months notice is needed before keys are handed over.
In November, Ashley threatened to close all 17 of his stores in Intu Properties' shopping centres, after the landlord refused to accept his terms on four House of Fraser locations. To date, around 23 HoF stores have been saved from closure.
Last month, Ashley spoke in parliament about the condition of the UK high street, which he said wouldn’t survive until 2030 unless something changed. In the same month, Ashley wrote a letter to Debenhams CEO Sergio Bucher, warning him of uncertain times ahead, following reports in October that the retailer would be closing 50 of it stores.
Photo credit: House of Fraser, Facebook