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Sports Direct denies HoF mass closures plan

HoF2Sports Direct has denied a claim that it will close most House of Fraser stores once the crucial Christmas trading period comes to an end.

The Sunday Telegraph said Sports Direct is either not paying rent or preparing to end the leases on most of its 50 or so remaining stores in the UK. However the group says the leases relate to the old House of Fraser company which went into administration and it has secured leases on the majority of House of Fraser stores.

In a statement it said: The Sunday Telegraph article refers to “fresh papers from administrators EY”, which is the progress report for the administration of HFL Realisations Limited (formerly House of Fraser Limited, which went into administration in 2018). This refers to a number of leases being surrendered for £nil and a small number of property leases remaining to be dealt with. The surrenders relate to the leases between the landlord and the old House of Fraser company and have nothing to do with Sports Direct Group including the new House of Fraser group.

‘Sports Direct has entered into new leases on the majority of House of Fraser stores. The EY report relates to an entirely different company. Sports Direct continues to work with landlords across the whole of the remaining House of Fraser estate.

‘Sports Direct is working rapidly on our ongoing investment programme with the HoF brand and it is therefore totally incorrect to assume that there will be large numbers of store closures in the New Year.’

Sports Direct bought House of Fraser out of administration for £90m in August 2018, but has since said it regretted the move, saying the chain is in terminal decline.

The group is focussing on its Frasers concept and will take over the 94,000sqft Debenhams store in Wolverhampton in January as a new flagship store, when Debenhams leaves under its CVA plans. Sport Direct failed in its attempt to take control of Debenhams before the chain’s creditors took control.