Mike Ashley outlines ambitions for House of Fraser after take-over

Ashley vows to create “Harrods of the high street” with House of Fraser buy

The Leamington branch of the ailing company is one of 31 of its 59 stores earmarked for closure under the previous owners.

A woman leaves a House of Fraser store in Bristol, Britain, August 10, 2018.

"Pursuant to the transaction, the group has acquired all of the United Kingdom stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the stock in the business".

Under Mr Ashley's stewardship, Sports Direct has accumulated stakes - often through complex financial instruments - in a number of British high street chains, including Debenhams and French Connection.

Mr Lim at Retail Economics said it's likely that Mr Ashley will rebrand some House of Fraser sites as Sports Direct.

A brief statement from Mr Ashley's business this morning saiod: "Sports Direct International plc announces the acquisition of the business and assets of House of Fraser from the administrators of House of Fraser Limited, House of Fraser (Stores) Limited and James Beattie Limited, the House of Fraser group's main operating companies, for a cash consideration of £90 million".

It is still unclear what this deal means for House of Fraser's 17,000 staff, particularly the 6,000 who had been set to lose their jobs in the coming months.

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"Significant progress has been made towards completing a sale of the group's business and assets".

EY, which is expected to be appointed administrator on Friday, will continue discussions with interested parties in the hope of reaching a deal "shortly after their appointment".

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley has always been rumoured to have been interested in buying the department store giant - as well as Philip Day, chief executive of Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

"Retailers that provide the right experience and service are really adapting the way that people shop, and as a result, are changing the requirement for the bricks and mortar store so it would be interesting to understand Sports Directs' take on this and whether they really relish the challenge and are able to adapt House of Fraser's customer experience through online, physical and social sales, in order to keep apace and meet the consumers requirements of today perhaps utilising in part the Flannels facia".

"The race is on to pivot business structures fast enough to be fit-for-purpose in today's digital world".

Potentially nodding to Mike Ashley's rumoured interest, House of Fraser chief executive Alex Williamson had said: "We are hopeful that the current negotiations will shortly be concluded".

Another first was that it was the retailer's first sustainable and green store.

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