Mike Ashley eyes quick exit for Sports Direct from House of Fraser

Seen and Heard: IDA spends €16m on HQ fit-out; Kilkenny Group takes legal action

Sports Direct may shutter House of Fraser after Christmas according to reports, after chief executive Mike Ashley said his company made a mistake in acquiring the retail business. Photograph:  Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP / Getty Images

Sports Direct may shutter House of Fraser after Christmas according to reports, after chief executive Mike Ashley said his company made a mistake in acquiring the retail business. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP / Getty Images

 

Almost all House of Fraser stores are expected to shut after Christmas as Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley goes cold on the idea of reviving the troubled retailer, according to the Sunday Telegraph. It says a number of sites belonging to the chain are empty with Sports Direct either not paying rent or about to end leases on most of the others, allowing for a quick exit.

Sports Direct paid €90 million to administrators for House of Fraser following its collapse last year in a move that gave it control of 64 sites in total. Mr Ashley said in July that the group he operates had erred in buying the retailer. The group said at that point that turning around the department store business would “not be quick or easy”.

Irish suppliers and Brexit

Sainsbury’s has warned Irish suppliers that they will bear the brunt of import duties arising from a no-deal Brexit, according to the Sunday Times Irish edition. An email sent to Irish companies said they will be liable for delivered duty paid (DDP) should the UK leave the European Union without a deal at the end of this month.

IDA HQ

The same paper says State agency IDA Ireland has spent €16 million fitting out its new headquarters at Park Place in Dublin’s city centre. A spokesman for the organisation said the costs cover that of three other agencies and that the IDA had “pursued a strong focus of value-for-money for the Exchequer during the process”.

Kilkenny Group

Elsewhere, the Sunday Times reports that Kilkenny Group has taken legal action against a company owned by Larry Goodman over his planned development of the Setanta Centre in Dublin, which is home to Kilkenny’s flagship store. The beef baron sought planning permission for a €100 million eight-storey redevelopment of the centre last year.

Deloitte drops

Deloitte is blaming an accounting change for a 3 per cent drop in revenues to €301 million for the year to the end of May, the Sunday Times says. The professional services firm’s results include audit income on both sides of the Border and consulting revenues in the Republic.

National broadband

The Sunday Business Post says that wireless broadband operator Imagine has told the Government it can service almost 45 per cent of the premises included in the National Broadband Plan (NBP). The news comes after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week said the company had “challenged” the NBP map and “caused a delay” in awarding the final contract for the plan. Mr Varadkar told the Dáil last week he expects to award the contract for the plan to the David McCourt-headed National Broadband Ireland before the end of 2019.

Energy, post and tennis

Elsewhere, the Sunday Business Post reports that San Leon Energy has taken a €15.5 million hit due to its exposure to Providence Resources, which last week failed to secure a promised €9 million loan from the Chinese company Apec. San Leon is entitled to a 4.5 per cent share of the profits from the Barryroe oil field under an agreement reached after it sold its share in the field to the Tony O’Reilly jnr-headed company a number of years ago.

The Sunday Independent leads with a report that An Post has joined forces with other postal companies to drive pricing reforms in China and other regions. It is targeting an extra €30 million in revenue from the crackdown.

The newspaper also reports that businessman Billy Dempsey, who acquired Davy Byrnes pub in Dublin city centre earlier this year, is teaming up with UCD to establish a Tennis Centre of Excellence on the Belfield campus. The proposed centre forms par of a major investment in sport at the college.