House of Fraser’s website could re-open next week after the department store reportedly struck a deal with its logistics provider XPO.
The website has been offline since shortly after Sports Direct acquired House of Fraser as XPO, which runs two House of Fraser warehouses, downed tools over unpaid debts racked up by the business’s previous owner, Nanjing Cenbest.
A large number of suppliers, including many major fashion brands, were left out of pocket as a result of the deal as House of Fraser was briefly placed into administration ahead of its buy-out by Sports Direct, which effectively wiped out all prior debts.
According to The Guardian, XPO, which is believed to be owed around £13m (though reports in recent weeks had placed the sum at £30m), has agreed to deliver stock to House of Fraser’s stores from the Milton Keynes warehouse until November, when it will close.
A second warehouse in Wellingborough will stay open until next March, when that too may be closed. After this it is being suggested that Sports Direct would distribute House of Fraser stock from its own warehouse in Shirebrook.
A representative for GMB Union, which represents workers at Milton Keynes, said it was disappointed that the negotiations between XPO and Sports Direct appeared to focus on the stock and not the people. “This whole standoff, during which our members have been left in limbo, has been about commodities, not people,” Alan Costello told The Guardian.
Yesterday it was revealed that Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which owns brands such as Jaeger and Jacques Vert, had pulled its stock out of 35 House of Fraser stores after failing to reach an agreement over an on-going trading relationship. EWM is owned by retail billionaire Philip Day who lost out to Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct in the race to acquire House of Fraser.