Mike Ashley saves Birmingham's landmark House of Fraser store

By Simon Penfold | Birmingham | News | Published:

Birmingham's huge House of Fraser department store has been saved from closure.

House of Fraser store in Corporation Street, Birmingham. Formerly Rackhams.

The former Rackham's building will remain part of the chain after new owner Mike Ashley sealed a deal with landlords.

There has been no official confirmation from House of Fraser, but it is understood staff at the store – which employs more than 600 people – have been given the good news.

It could mean fresh investment in the landmark Corporation Street building.

And Mr Ashley has spoken of giving floors at Birmingham over to his Sports Direct and Flannels brands – the latter is his luxury fashion chain.

The Birmingham rescue comes in the wake of the deal that saved House of Fraser's Beatties store in Wolverhampton last week, and a further deal to keep the store in Leamington open as well.

It brings tracksuit tycoon Mike Ashley another step closer to his aim of saving 80 per cent of the 59 House of Fraser stores as he creates a "Harrods of the High Street".

The Sports Direct owner paid £90 million to rescue the department store chain out of administration following its collapse in August.

But he immediately had to start negotiations with a string of landlords and property owners up and down the country.


House of Fraser's management have sold off nearly all their properties over the years, renting the stores back.

Mr Ashley, who's Sports Direct business also owns a large slice of the Debenham's department store chain, has had to strike some tough deals to keep stores open over recent weeks.

It has been suggested that for some stores the landlords will be paid no rent, but House of Fraser will pay the business rates on the properties and a service charge.

Originally part of the Birmingham-based Rackhams department store chain, following a takeover by House of Fraser in 1959 the Corporation Street store was opened in stages during the 1960s and rapidly became a city landmark.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.


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