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Belfast HoF saved

£10m refurbishment announced to turn store into ‘Harrods of the High Street’


HOUSE Of Fraser’s Belfast store has been saved from closure after new owners Sports Direct struck a new deal with the landlords, securing the employment of 500 staff members.

Retail Gazette reported the deal with landlords Commerz Real will also see the 120,000sq ft Victoria Square store, which also houses a Paperchase concession, undergo a £10million refurbishment scheme.
The future of the branch had been in the balance after the department store chain were bought out of administration for £90m by Sports Direct last year, with founder Mike Ashley planning to turn the retailers into the “Harrods of the High Street” with the addition of luxury and contemporary brands concessions.
“This marks a significant moment in the turnaround of House Of Fraser, and we are committed to investing and remodelling this popular store,” Sports Direct head of elevation Michael Murray said.
“The landlord was very proactive and reasonable and, as a result, we will elevate and invest in the store in order to create Belfast’s first luxury department store.”
The news comes as the four House Of Fraser stores hosted by Intu shopping centres were recently secured under an interim agreement, after a stand-off between Sports Direct and the retail property giant over new terms almost saw them shut down.
Before Sports Direct stepped in with the rescue deal the retailers had announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs with the closure of 31 stores in Britain and Ireland, including eight of the 19 that house Paperchase concessions such Swindon and Hull, which have since been confirmed as closing.
Mike Ashley vowed to save 47 out of the chain’s 59 stores, and the Belfast store’s secure future means 42 HoF stores have now reportedly had their leases extended since Sports Direct’s takeover with an estimated 4000-plus jobs saved.

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