Mike Ashley must transform House of Fraser to make it a success

Following today’s news (Friday 10 August) that Sports Direct has purchased House of Fraser for £90m,

Sofie Willmott, Senior Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the chain’s current challenges:

‘‘To give House of Fraser the best chance of survival, Sports Direct and its owner Mike Ashley must make drastic changes to both its product proposition and store environment to entice shoppers back. This will require significant investment – something which the chain has been starved of in recent years.

‘‘Mike Ashley could harness his mixed portfolio of retail businesses to transform House of Fraser, combining his more premium fascias Agent Provocateur and Flannels, which sells brands like Burberry London, Fendi and Sophia Webster, to create a more upmarket department store. Although very few of House of Fraser’s own brands remain, those such as Issa and Biba could be incorporated into this new format.

”Given the success of luxury department stores like Selfridges and Harrods, Ashley may attempt to replicate their model using House of Fraser’s locations, however it is questionable whether the high end price points would appeal nationwide, particularly given that London-based department store retailers have benefited from tourism.”

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