1. ITV Report

Mike Ashley vows to turn House of Fraser into 'Harrods of the High Street'

House of Fraser has been purchased by businessman Mike Ashley Photo: PA
Some 17,000 staff have been informed they will be moved from HoF to Sports Direct Credit: PA

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has bought House of Fraser for £90m. The billionaire, who also owns Newcastle Utd Football Club, struck the deal after the department store entered administration on Friday morning.

In a stock market announcement, Sports Direct said it had acquired all of the UK stores of House of Fraser, the brand and all of the stock in the business.

The businessman announced the purchase the day after transfer deadlined day Credit: PA
  • The latest statement from Mike Ashley:

This is a massive step forward and further enhances our strategy of elevation across the Group. This will benefit both House of Fraser and Flannels in the luxury sector. We will do our best to keep as many stores open as possible.

It is vital that we restore the right level of ongoing relationships with the luxury brands. Our deal was conservative, consistent and simple.

My ambition is to transform House of Fraser into the Harrods of the High Street.

– Chief Executive, Mike Ashley
Previously there were fears of 17,500 jobs at risk Credit: PA

The news will raise the hopes for 17,000 staff who have been informed that they will be transferred over from House of Fraser to Sports Direct.

The tycoon beat off competition from a rival bid, which was in excess of £100m by retail rival Philip Day, the billionaire owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill. That deal would have involved the department store avoiding administration and included the House of Fraser pension scheme.

However, accountancy giant EY, which was overseeing the process, opted for Mr Ashley's offer.

Mr Ashley has said he aims to keep as 'many stores as possible' open Credit: PA

Sources said that Mr Ashley will now begin the process of turning some House of Fraser stores into Sports Direct outlets and rebrand others under the Flannels fascia.

Prior to its collapse, Mr Ashley had held an 11% stake in the department store chain.