A mixed-use center will replace the department store with a focus on offices.
The British retailer House of Fraser, which operates 43 department stores in the kingdom, will have to close its flagship store on Oxford Street in London. As The Guardian reports, the department store in the central location will operate until January 2021.
The Conle family, who owns the building, has received permission to redevelop it. The result will be a mixed-use complex with retail on the first floor, offices on the upper levels, a gym and swimming pool in the basement, and a rooftop restaurant. Renovation work on the space will take about two years.
"We regret to inform you that the landlord has given us notice to close House of Fraser on Oxford Street once the redevelopment permit is granted," House of Fraser commented. It is anticipated that the retailer will return and open a store in a smaller space once the remodel is complete.
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End, which represents more than 600 central London retailers, restaurants, and other consumer businesses, said the transformation of House of Fraser is part of a necessary redevelopment of Oxford Street. The renovation will convert the upper floors of many retail units into offices.
In recent years, the House of Fraser chain has shrunk from 59 to 43 department stores. A store in Swindon will also close in December 2021. The retailer was forced to reduce the number of retail outlets to optimize costs amid growing competition from online merchants.
For the British market, this is a general trend rather than an exception. For example, department store chain Debenhams closed all its stores after selling its business to Boohoo. In addition, the Beales chain had only a few outlets left after the company entered administrative management, and John Lewis has closed 16 outlets in the past two years.