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House of Fraser evicted from Oxford Street store

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House of Fraser
House of Fraser

House of Fraser has been evicted from its Oxford Street store after 142 years as the landlord redevelops the building following a long-term drop in footfall.

The department store chain, which is owned by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, will close the branch in January after being served notice.

The owner of 318 Oxford Street, Public Properties Establishment, has been given permission from Westminster Council for a £100m revamp that will include a gym and pool in the basement, shops, several floors of office space and a top floor restaurant with views across London.

Frasers warned of more closures unless the business rates tax system is overhauled to support the high street.

House of Fraser - Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP
House of Fraser - Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

The retailer said: “If business rates were reviewed it would support the future of House of Fraser. Without this, further store closures are inevitable.”

It is the latest in a string of major names forced to close or downsize on Oxford Street after bricks-and-mortar retail was ravaged by lockdowns and the rise of the internet.

The nearby Debenhams shut after the chain went bust a year ago, and Frasers' cash-strapped neighbour, John Lewis, is seeking to convert several floors into offices.

The House of Fraser site started life as DH Evans in 1879. The business was merged with House of Fraser as part of a wave of consolidation and the store was rebranded 20 years ago.

There were 43 House of Fraser shops in August, down from 48 the year before.

Mike Ashley’s company bought the chain for £90m in 2018 after it went into administration.

He has previously said he regretted the deal after struggling to make returns from the stores amid increasing competition and a dramatic shift to online shopping.

Ikea confirmed last month that it would take over the Topshop building on the Oxford Circus junction in a vote of confidence in London’s prime real estate market, despite high-profile retreats by others.

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