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Shake-up at top of chain

Ashley sacks senior House of Fraser management

Mike Ashley

Quick decisions: Mike Ashley has vowed to turn around House of Fraser


 

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has fired the senior management at House of Fraser just weeks after buying the struggling department store chain.

Those departing include chief executive Alex Williamson who was unable to agree a rescue deal with Chinese investors to pump new money into the business.

In a terse announcement to the stock market, Sports Direct said it had “dismissed the former directors and senior management of House of Fraser”, adding that it followed calls for an investigation into the retailer’s collapse, the statement added.

Sports Direct bought House of Fraser from the administrator in a £90m deal in August and has move quickly to reinvigorate the business.

Mr Ashley accused a number of landlords of being “greedy” when he announced that a number of stores, including the Edinburgh store, would close after failing to agree a deal to reduce rents.

Billionaire Mr Ashley, who owns English Premier League soccer club Newcastle United, has called for an investigation into the cause of the chain’s collapse, according to press reports.

House of Fraser Glasgow

Stores will get more luxury brands


 

Richard Lim of consultancy Retail Economics said Sports Direct had taken “drastic action following a series of woeful management decisions, clumsy execution and an outdated perception of the UK market”.

Mr Ashley has vowed to turn the department store chain into the “Harrods of the high street” and to keep most of its stores open. He intends to upgrade the range of stock with more luxury brands.

“We think it will make a big difference,” he told The Sun.

Sports Direct owns a 29.7% stake in Debenhams but a merger has been ruled out.



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