Express & Star

Wolverhampton Beatties closing down sale launched

Wolverhampton’s iconic Beatties building has moved a step closer to shutting its doors as a closing down sale was launched.

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Store closing sale signs in the windows, at Beatties, Wolverhampton..

Signs have gone up in the windows of the historic department store advertising discounts with House of Fraser to exit soon to switch to the Mander Centre.

The move is part of the formation of a new Frasers store in the shopping centre, taking the place of Debenhams which closed earlier this year.

As well as House of Fraser, it will also feature Flannels and Sports Direct in a mix of billionaire businessman Mike Ashley’s retail empire, with Sports Direct also moving from Queen Street.

Frasers is due to launch next month but House of Fraser is not expected to move immediately. A spokeswoman has said Flannels and Sports Direct will open as part of the “first phase” of the launch. A closure date for House of Fraser has yet to be revealed.

But signs saying “store closing” and advertising 20 per cent off have gone up in the windows. A similar firesale is under way at Sports Direct ahead of its move.

High street giant House of Fraser’s move will mark the end of an era for Wolverhampton city centre, after more than 140 years of a department store operating under the famous Beatties banner. The Victoria Street building was sold for a cut-price £3 million earlier this year to a London-based firm.

The Express & Star understands plans for the future of the Beatties building include 250 apartments and retail units.

The end result of the city centre shake-up will be a new anchor store for the Mander Centre bringing a significant and much-needed boost following the disaster of losing Debenhams after less than two years, and the coronavirus pandemic which has dealt yet another blow to the high street.

Boards have gone up in front of the old Debenhams store bearing the Frasers name in readiness for the launch.

The plans for the future of Beatties, founded in the same year as Wolves in 1877, have been welcomed by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, himself a retail expert as the former boss of John Lewis.

He said: “Beatties is an iconic part of Wolverhampton’s heritage so it must have a key part in its future. With the challenges we’re currently seeing in retail, bringing more homes to our cities is exactly the thinking we need. And a great way to preserve a part of history.”

House of Fraser took over the landmark in 2005 but many in the city have continued to refer to the shop as Beatties.