House of Fraser opening concept store at Mander Centre in place of Debenhams
House of Fraser will leave its landmark Beatties home to open in the current Debenhams store in the Mander Centre, it was confirmed today.
The new House of Fraser outlet will be one of its first multi-brand stores, it has emerged.
Tycoon Mike Ashley will launch Frasers, featuring a mix of his House of Fraser, Flannels, Sports Direct and USC brands, in the store currently occupied by the high street department chain early next year.
The announcement comes after the Express & Star exclusively revealed plans for the move to the Mander Centre last month.
The deal is a huge boost for the Mander Centre and will come as a relief to bosses following the blow of losing anchor store Debenhams, which will close in early 2020.
It also brings the end to more than 140 years of retail history at Beatties, which is currently in the process of being sold.
The University of Wolverhampton is among bidders.
It means the Mander Centre will retain a large department store following the loss of Debenhams, whose exit from the city was confirmed last month.
It is thought the various different brands of Mr Ashley's retail empire, from luxury Flannels to budget Sports Direct, will operate on separate floors.
Sources had confirmed talks between House of Fraser and the Mander Centre but both parties had remained quiet publicly over a possible deal until now.
Jonathan Ratnage, retail sector specialist at Mander Centre owners Benson Elliot, said: “We are delighted to welcome Frasers to the Mander Centre. This is terrific news for our loyal shoppers who will see a significant upgrade in our premium brand line up.
“This long-term commitment signifies the confidence major brands have in both Wolverhampton and the Mander Centre as the city’s pre-eminent customer destination.
“The Mander team work hard to give all our customers good reasons to shop locally in the city where they live and work.
"The new Frasers offering will serve to broaden the city centre’s appeal across a wider catchment area, supporting and sustaining jobs and investment into the future.”
Michael Murray, head of elevation at Sports Direct International, which owns House of Fraser, said: “We are really proud to have secured this retail destination in the heart of Wolverhampton and look forward to bringing our new elevated multi-brand concept to the Mander Centre in 2020.”
City council leader Ian Brookfield said: “This is fantastic news for Wolverhampton.
“It shows how our city is agile in responding to the difficult challenges that city centres up and down the country are facing."