£10m investment boost for House of Fraser Belfast
Sports Direct to invest over €11m after agreeing long-term lease with shopping-centre owners
House of Fraser store in Belfast. House of Fraser, which is owned by Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley, employs 500 full- and part-time staff in the city. Photograph: Jacobia Dahm/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sports Direct is to invest £10 million (€11.4 million) in its House of Fraser store in the North after agreeing a new “long-term lease” with the owners of the Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast.
House of Fraser, which is owned by Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley, employs 500 full- and part-time staff in Belfast.
The British retail group said the new lease agreement with the Belfast store’s German landlord, Commerz Real, would secure their futures.
Michael Murray with Sports Direct, said: ‘This marks a significant moment in the turnaround of House of Fraser and we are committed to investing and remodelling this popular store.
“The landlord was very proactive and reasonable, and as a result we will elevate and invest in the store in order to create Belfast’s first luxury department store.”
Mike Ashley acquired House of Fraser for £90 million last year when the department group went into administration.
Mr Ashley has closed a number of House Fraser stores following failed negotiations with what he has previously described as “greedy landlords”.
However, House of Fraser and Commerz Real said both organisations had worked collaboratively to secure the future of the Belfast store which covers 120,000sq ft.
Katharina von Schacky, global head of shopping at Commerz Real, said: “We worked very closely with House of Fraser to secure the new long-term lease in the city centre. This will further strengthen Belfast and it shows the unique position Victoria Square has in the Belfast region.”
The Belfast store, which first opened in 2008, is now the 42nd store to have its lease extended since House of Fraser’s acquisition by Sports Direct.
According to Sports Direct the refurbishment of its Belfast House of Fraser will begin this year and will see the store “welcome a plethora of luxury and contemporary brands”.