House of Fraser’s distribution centres have closed for a second time amid the ongoing row between new owner Mike Ashley and XPO Logistics.
According to Drapers, workers at the sites in Wellingborough and Milton Keynes have downed tools again, just days after they reopened on August 24.
Ashley and XPO have been at loggerheads ever since he acquired the department store business out of administration earlier this month. The row relates to a £30.4m bill House of Fraser owes the warehouse operator.
As previously revealed by Retail Week, HoF’s warehouses ceased operations a fortnight ago after Ashley told XPO he would only be paying the business for work undertaken during his ownership.
The retailer was forced to cancel all online orders and refund customers after the warehouse dispute sparked “significant delays” to deliveries.
All visitors to House of Fraser’s website are being redirected to Sports Direct’s Flannels ecommerce platform as a result.
Just days ago it looked as though the dispute with XPO had been settled, after it emerged that House of Fraser’s two distribution centres would reopen.
A letter from HoF chief executive Alex Williamson a week ago said the sites would recommence taking receipt of concession deliveries, collecting from suppliers and processing stock to its stores.
But the ongoing row has reportedly driven XPO to down tools for a second time – and pile pressure on Ashley to come up with a resolution.
It is estimated that House of Fraser, which was rescued by Ashley’s Sports Direct in a £90m pre-pack administration deal, owes creditors including landlords and concession partners a sum in the region of £70m to £100m.
Neither House of Fraser nor Sports Direct were immediately available for comment.