Thursday 16 August 2018

House of Fraser Dundrum, employing 546, to trade on amid UK buyout

A model wearing designs on sale in House of Fraser outlets. The chain has been bought by Sports Direct in the UK
A model wearing designs on sale in House of Fraser outlets. The chain has been bought by Sports Direct in the UK
House of Fraser has been bought by Sports Direct in the UK

Dearbhail McDonald, Group Business Editor

House of Fraser Dundrum will continue to trade as a going concern before falling under the control of billionaire Mike Ashley's Sports Direct.

Some 546 people are employed at the South Dublin outlet, closed briefly yesterday by administrators EY following the £90m (€78m) rescue of the ailing UK fashion retailer by Sports Direct.

A total of 146 staff are hired directly by House of Fraser in Dundrum Town Centre with an additional 400 hired by concessions.

The Dundrum outlet is a store within Scottish incorporated House of Fraser (Stores) Ltd and will be subsumed by Sports Direct on completion of certain regulatory issues in Ireland as the Dundrum outlet is registered with the CRO here but it not a legal entity in its own right.

Trade union Mandate, which represents workers in the Dundrum outlet, said employees of UK retailers operating in Ireland feared that they would fall victim to the fallout of the ongoing "high street horror" in the UK.

A string of British store groups have gone out of business or announced plans to close shops as they struggle with factors including subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs and growing online competition.

Mr Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United, struck a deal to buy House of Fraser out of administration earlier yesterday, raising hopes for the future of thousands of staff.

In a stock market announcement, Sports Direct said it has acquired all 59 House of Fraser stores, the brand and all of the retailer's stock.

Some 17,000 staff have been informed that they will be transferred over from House of Fraser to Sports Direct.

However, doubt remains over the long-term future of jobs and whether Mr Ashley will shut underperforming stores as part of a restructuring programme.

House of Fraser was plunged into crisis last week after C.banner, the Chinese owner of toy store Hamleys, pulled its investment in the troubled retail chain.

Irish Independent

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