House of Fraser could have delivered an own goal in the unfortunate timing of its autumn/winter press and supplier event last night.
However, suppliers to the department store group spurned the spectacle of the red flags in Red Square and turned out to support the department store group.
The evening was a game of two halves and the House of Fraser management and staff appeared so proud, they could have been holding the Champions League trophy aloft in Moscow themselves.
First, press and fashionistas were invited to view a catwalk show, with the intention of showcasing House of Fraser’s attempt to challenge Selfridges for the title of “House of Brands”.
It was preceded by cheering words from chief executive John King. Sales at its newly opened Belfast store are up 56 per cent since opening in March and refurbishments are rolling out across the portfolio of stores, as part of a further£60 million investment this year.
During half time, King added that the retailer was meeting its targets and positive that it was in the right aspirational sector to push through the downturn.
Then the journalists were relegated and the suppliers came on side. The uproar over changes to supplier terms last year seemed long forgotten.
With supermodel and face of House of Fraser Yasmin Le Bon wheeled out to patiently meet and greet, suppliers were more than happy to see such a charming incarnation of what their hard-earned cash is contributing to.
No such gaiety and back-slapping from suppliers to another retailer with a Baugur-heritage, though. MK One – owned by Baugur until just three weeks ago – went into administration yesterday, as forecast by Retail Week magazine last week.
So, as champagne corks popped at House of Fraser last night, MK One suppliers were resigning themselves to despair of John Terry proportions. They had been angered already when Baugur sold the business to Hilco for£1, leaving them allegedly millions out of pocket.
As another fashion retailer hits the buffers, leaving the security of thousands of jobs and many suppliers businesses in jeopardy, there is a distinct lack of anyone taking responsibility.
All suppliers and staff can hope for is that a trade buyer will snap up the chain as a whole and trade it as a going concern.
But, in the meantime, someone should be dealt a red card.
No comments yet