House of Fraser has suffered a fresh blow after Edinburgh Woollen Mill shuttered all concessions it operates within its department stores.

In an internal email sent at the weekend and seen by Drapers, EWM instructed staff across its concessions to cease trading immediately and remove all stock from display.

It is understood the temporary suspension of trading, which will impact around 30 House of Fraser stores, also applies to own-brand HoF products supplied by EWM-owned Berwin & Berwin.

EWM, which also controls brands including Jaeger and Jane Norman, is locked in talks with House of Fraser and its new owner, Mike Ashley, over a £3m debt owed to the business.

There is no love lost between the two parties, after Ashley beat EWM boss Philip Day in the race to rescue HoF.

The internal EWM email said: “A member of staff must remain on the department at all times to ensure that no goods/products are sold.

“Please ensure that you communicate with the adjacent store/concession staff to ensure sales are not processed through the till.”

Day failed in a £100m bid to buy House of Fraser before Ashley swooped to rescue it from administration in a £90m deal.

Day is since understood to have contacted HoF landlords to express an interest in taking on several stores.


Separately, House of Fraser’s administrators, Ernst & Young, are facing a complaint from another businessman who had attempted to buy the department store chain.

Paul Mckie’s Fashion Collective business had attempted to buy House of Fraser prior to its administration.

But Mckie claims he was told by EY on the morning of the administration that the firm had not been appointed.

In an official complaint addressed to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and seen by City AM, Mckie suggested that “the deal with Sports Direct was agreed prior to the administration”.

A spokesman for EY said: “The company prior to insolvency deemed Mr Paul Mckie’s offer inadequate and not worth pursuing. This offer was substantially less than the other offers on the table prior to our appointment.

“EY has full confidence in the way our team conducted the sale of the business of House of Fraser.”