House of Fraser will close four of its stores, all based in shopping centres owned by Intu Properties.

Mike Ashley, whose company Sports Direct bought the chain out of administration for a snip at £90 million, blamed greedy landlords for the shutting of the stores.

“We were no further forward after 14 weeks. Unfortunately, these stores now face closing in the New Year. I urge other institutional landlords to be more proactive to help save the HoF stores in their schemes,” he said.

Most however took this with the usual pinch of salt that should come with press announcement from Mike Ashley’s firms, as its clear they are negotiating hard with Property companies to secure the minimum amount possible on rent.

Closures Expected

In the latest round, 4 stores will shut including itsLakeside, Metrocentre, Norwich and Nottingham outlets in the New Year. However closures were already expected to close after Sports Direct abandoned the original plans to close 31 stores that were already earmarked as part of the original restructuring.

Intu already making plans

Intu confirmed that they had not reached an agreement with Sports Direct and were already moving on from the breakdown.

“House of Fraser stores in our portfolio will be closing in early 2019, representing around 1% of our secured rent and 526,000 sq ft of retail space.

“We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to re-engineer and re-let this underperforming space to new and exciting alternatives.”