House of Fraser has shut down its website following a dispute with XPO, which operates its warehouse on its behalf.
The department store chain, acquired last week by Sports Direct mogul Mike Ashley, has resorted to responding to customer queries on Twitter. It has told shoppers there is currently no “timescale for delivery”.
Retail Week understands that XPO stopped operations after Ashley told the operator he would only be paying for work undertaken during his ownership. Like the rest of House of Fraser’s suppliers, XPO is owed money from before Ashley’s takeover.
It is estimated that between £70m and £100m is owed to suppliers including landlords and concession partners. Suppliers have expressed concerns that smaller and more financially vulnerable businesses could go down despite the department store chain’s last-hour rescue.
Ashley has pledged to keep 80% of the department store chain’s shops open. Prior to Ashley’s purchase of the business, House of Fraser executives had engineered a drastic CVA to shut just over half its stores, battling with landlords to get it approved.
Separately, Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day, is understood to be talking with landlords about taking over several House of Fraser stores.
Day, who lost out to Ashley in the battle for control of House of Fraser, woukd convert the shops to his Days Department Store fascia.