House of Fraser’s iconic flagship Kendals store in Manchester has been saved from closure after new terms were agreed between the landlord and the department store’s new owner Sports Direct.
In October, a spokesperson for Sports Direct confirmed that the branch was due to close on January 28, despite it not being one of the 31 stores earmarked for closure amid its initial CVA.
“We have suggested various options to the landlord that would have enabled us to save the store in Manchester. Sadly, these have been declined,” the spokesperson said at the time.
Thanks to an intervention from Manchester City Council, the retailer has now announced a u-turn on the closure which will mean 568 staff will keep their jobs.
“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the city and I am proud that the council has been able to play a constructive role in saving a real Manchester icon and hundreds of jobs,” Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said.
Sports Direct founder and chief executive Mike Ashley had bought the embattled department store chain out of administration for £90 million in August.
He vowed at the time to save or 47 out of 59 stores.
“This demonstrates that when landlords, local authorities and retailers work together the outcomes can be outstanding,” he said.
“When working together we can make a real difference to the high street.”
In September, Ashley agreed terms on 20 stores and has been operating the estate on short term licences which allow him to hand over the keys with just two months’ notice.
In October, House of Fraser said that stores in Exeter and Shrewsbury are due to close in early 2019, leading to hundreds of job losses.
House of Frasers in Cirencester, Hull, Swindon, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Norwich, Gateshead, Lakeside and Chichester are also closing down.
Reports indicate that the retailer’s City of London store could also face closure in January.
To date, around 22 House of Fraser stores have been saved from closure, saving an estimated 3500 jobs.