Harrods managing director Michael Ward has spoken out in support of Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley’s ambitions to restore House of Fraser’s fortunes.
Ashley bought House of Fraser out of administration just over a week ago, but has since clashed with some suppliers, who were left £484m out of pocket as a result of the department store group’s collapse.
Ward said Ashley deserved backing for his ambition to revive House of Fraser. He told The Sunday Telegraph: “We should all give him support and enthusiasm for trying to shake things up a bit.”
Ashley has said he aims to make House of Fraser ‘the Harrods of the High Street’ under his ownership.
Ward said: “I think what Mike meant is that he wants to take House of Fraser more upmarket and become more experiential.
“Having a Harrods in every British town wouldn’t work, it would fail miserably. Harrods works because we are in one location – London, the capital city.
“Mike knows he won’t be successful putting Prada into every House of Fraser shop. But he will be successful in making the chain more fun.”
Since Ashley took control of House of Fraser, he has prompted anger from concessionaires and other suppliers for not picking up the obligations left by the retailer’s former owners. Some brands have removed stock and a dispute with logistics business XPO led to the closure of House of Fraser’s website and refunds to customers.
Today, luxury brand and retailer Mulberry disclosed that it is booking a £3m hit as a result of House of Fraser’s collapse.
Mulberry, which has 21 concessions in House of Fraser stores employing 88 people, warned: “Since the group reported in June 2018, the UK market has continued to remain challenging and sales in House of Fraser stores have been particularly affected.
“If these sales trends in the UK continue into the key trading period of the second half of the financial year, the group’s profit for the whole year will be materially reduced.”