House of Fraser to close its 'Kendals' Manchester flagship
While House of Fraser seems to have been successful so far in saving some of its landmark stores such as London's Oxford Street and Frasers in Glasgow, it's been unsuccessful with its Manchester flagship.
The company’s premier department store in the Manchester area, still known as Kendals to locals, will close in the New Year after the failure of talks between House of Fraser owner Sports Direct and the building’s landlord.
Kendals is almost 200 years-old having opened in its current location in 1836, although it has been rebuilt more than once during that time. But it will now shut up shop on January 28 after the post-Christmas clearance sale ends, with the loss of several hundred jobs.
Sports Direct had earlier said that it wanted to keep open as many stores as possible, even though House of Fraser had planned to close more than half of its 59 locations under its previous CVA strategy.
So far however, only 22 of the stores have been rescued from closure.
A House of Fraser spokesman said the Manchester landlord has rebuffed several of its suggestions for the store. Reports said that the 36,000 sq m location is owned by a private investor who bough it for £84.5 million in 2016.
The current building was opened in the Art Deco era and the leader of Manchester City Council described it as a “treasure of our city’s architecture”. He added that “the city council will do everything it can to get this decision reversed and support those working at the store who will be shocked at today’s news.”
The Kendals store was briefly renamed Harrods early in the 20th century when it was taken over by that business, but was switched back after customer objections. It was rebranded House of Fraser during the last decade but the Kendals name (or more correctly, Kendal Milne) remains visible above its main door and it's still referred to under that name locally.
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