// Mike Ashley pledges hundreds of millions of pounds into House of Fraser
// He hopes to do this in exchange for three-year rent holidays on redeveloped stores
// Sports Direct tycoon plans to open 31 rebranded “Frasers” stores over the next five years
Mike Ashley has revealed further details about his House of Fraser revamp plans, which includes redeveloping up to 31 stores into the luxury Frasers fascia over the next five years.
According to The Sunday Times, the Sports Direct owner pledged to make an investment worth hundreds of millions of pounds into House of Fraser in order to relaunch the department store chain and take it upmarket.
In return for this, he hopes to achieve a three-year rent holiday.
Last week, reports emerged that Ashley had told suppliers that seven House of Fraser stores were set to be rebranded as Frasers.
Now The Sunday Times indicates he wants to open 31 luxury Frasers stores over the next five years, with five due in 2020.
The Frasers stores will reportedly open on the sites of existing House of Fraser stores and on some new sites, and will stock high-end brands such as Gucci and Paul Smith.
Currently, the House of Fraser flagship store in Glasgow already operates under the Frasers name, while the Belfast and Liverpool stores are reportedly included in the rebranding preparations.
Ashley also plans to use his luxury, 40-outlet fashion chain Flannels as a model for the new-style House of Fraser.
It comes after sales in Sports Direct’s “premium lifestyle” division, mostly Flannels stores, surged by 43 per cent cent to £162 million last year.
When Sports Direct bought House of Fraser out of administration for £90 million last August, Ashley made no secret of his ambition of turning the retailer into the “Harrods of the high street”.
Since then, the billionaire acquired the freehold for the Frasers building in Glasgow for £95 million, closed five House of Fraser stores and made deals on at least 37 others.
However, many of these are only one-year agreements and are due to expire in August.