House of Fraser owner could close more big shops as department store model ‘broken’

The proprietor of Home of Fraser has stated it might shut extra shops, after shutting eight up to now 12 months and declaring “the division retailer globally is damaged”.

Michael Murray, the chief govt of Mike Ashley’s retail empire Frasers, which additionally owns Sports activities Direct, the designer avenue style chain Flannels and a plethora of manufacturers from Jack Wills to Evans Cycles, stated its division retailer portfolio was “frequently underneath evaluate” and a few shops had been “nonetheless too huge”. “We now have to search out options for the surplus area,” he stated.

Home of Fraser has already virtually halved in measurement from 59 shops to 31 because it was purchased out of administration by Ashley’s retail empire in August 2018. Murray stated that traditionally shops would have been 150,000 sq ft or bigger, which was now “too huge” and meant that previously they “didn’t have the funding” they wanted. The group now needs shops of about 50,000 sq ft or smaller.

Home of Fraser’s newest closures comply with a development of decline for conventional malls, with the UK’s Debenhams chain now online-only after collapsing into administration in 2019, whereas Beales is decreased to only a handful of shops after going bust in 2020. John Lewis has shut 16 shops since 2020, leaving it with simply 34, whereas Fenwick is to close its flagship London store on Bond Road subsequent 12 months after 130 years of commerce.

Murray’s feedback got here as Frasers reported that pre-tax earnings for the group virtually doubled to £660m after gross sales rose 16% to £5.6bn within the 12 months to 30 April.

Gross sales on the group’s premium division, which incorporates Flannels and Home of Fraser, rose 5.7%, earlier than acquisitions, however the division sank to a lack of £100,000, from a £10.5m revenue a 12 months earlier than, after dropping enterprise charges aid and taking a £19.8m hit from retailer closures.

Gross sales on the core Sports activities Direct chain had been nearly flat 12 months on 12 months, excluding acquisitions, however earnings greater than doubled to £447m because the group stated a greater relationship with the important thing model Nike and different labels had helped it enhance revenue margins whereas it made extra earnings on property disposals.

Frasers’ gross sales had been helped by a slew of acquisitions, together with the web specialist Studio Retail and a number of other manufacturers from JD Sports activities. Murray indicated there could be extra to come back.

He stated the group would proceed to construct stakes in listed firms as that was vital in transferring relationships ahead. “Everybody can discuss attempting to drive a strategic relationship but when somebody doesn’t put their cash the place their mouth is and take step one then [nothing changes]. If you personal 10% to twenty% everybody’s targeted to make issues occur. You might be having conversations,” he stated.

Whereas he wouldn’t touch upon Frasers’ plans for particular firms, Murray added: “There’s going to be alternatives and we’re nicely positioned to capitalise on them. We now have a powerful trade main platform for serving to these companies and taking advantages for our enterprise.”

The corporate stated it anticipated to make as much as £550m in underlying revenue within the 12 months forward regardless of a tricky shopper surroundings as it could be “staying targeted on price inflation”.

That will be a step up from the £478m of underlying revenue within the 12 months to April, which got here after excluding one-off advantages together with a £55.2m achieve on the acquisition of some manufacturers from JD Sports activities and £17m associated to the sale of a stake in Kangol.

On Thursday, Frasers stated it had elevated its stake within the on-line retailer Asos by one other two share factors to fifteen%. This week it has additionally upped its stake within the on-line style website Boohoo from 5% to six.7% and N Brown from 18% to 19%.

Back To Top