Sports Direct CEO Mike Ashley has reportedly agreed to make a major investment to open 31 rebranded stores of UK department store chain House of Fraser over the next five years.
The investment is part of Ashley’s plans to re-launch the department store chain, reported The Sunday Times.
Ashley saved the company out of administration by acquiring all its assets and its main operating company James Beattie for £90m, In August last year.
Ashley expects to gain a three-year rent holiday for the 31 stores in exchange for the investment.
Sports Direct executive Michael Murray told Retail Week: “In regional markets, there is so much appetite for aspirational brands and aspirational shopping, but they’re starved of it. This isn’t just a pipe dream – we have the capital to do it.”
The retail tycoon has been operating around 50 of the 59 House of Fraser stores since its acquisition. Ashley expects to open five of the 31 luxury stores over the next year. The new stores will feature a range of major brands, such as Gucci and Paul Smith.
The news agency also reported that landlords welcomed the decision to open the stores, with scepticism shown towards rent holidays on all the remodelled stores.
Ashley is reportedly planning to link the subsequent rents, following the five-year rent holidays, to store performances.