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House of Fraser boss on plans to build 'partnerships' with landlords to reduce property rents

In the run up to Christmas House of Fraser saw sales fall in store and online - on the face of it a terrible set of results.

This morning the company’s chief executive, Alex Williamson, told me that every one of 59 department stores is making money and that the company’s Chinese owners, Sanpower, are “absolutely committed” to the business.

That said, the current situation is not sustainable. Williamson revealed that he wants to cut House of Fraser’s property costs by a whopping 30% in next five to ten years.

He’s asking landlords to reduce rent and floor space and it’s not yet clear if that will mean store closures.

Alex Williamson's message to the 17,500 people who work at House of Fraser is he can make it “the most inspiring department store in the world”.

He’s promising a detailed turnaround plan by the end of March.

As far as the company’s future UK footprint is concerned, there’s a lot hanging on the outcome of talks with the landlords.

But House of Fraser is not the only retailer with more high street space than it needs as shoppers move online.

There will be more of this to come.