House of Fraser closures mark further carnage on high street

7 June 2018, 08:55

House of Fraser Edinburgh

Department store chain House of Fraser is shutting more than half of its stores as the carnage on the high street shows no sign of slowing down.

The retailer has a history stretching back almost 170 years and is one of the country's best-known fashion brands.

The retail giant began with a single drapery shop, opened in Glasgow by Hugh Fraser and James Arthur in 1849.

It grew steadily, becoming House of Fraser in 1941, then took hold as a national chain after the Second World War.

Over the years, the business has acquired numerous companies, including Harrods, which is now privately owned.

House of Fraser has been owned by Egyptian-born billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed and before that by the Fraser family, from which it takes its name.

It was bought by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group for £480 million in 2014.

Like other retailers, House of Fraser has struggled over the past few years as stiff competition from online rivals and the slump in consumer confidence have knocked the firm.

It forced Sanpower to seek outside help in the form of a stake sale to Hamley's owner C.banner.

Before today's announcement, the group had 59 locations across the UK and Ireland, and employed around 5,000 people directly and 12,500 concession staff.

Jobs will be cut significantly, with closures set to affect up to 2,000 staff and a further 4,000 concession workers.