House of Fraser MetroCentre store to close

A House of Fraser store. Pic by PA.
A House of Fraser store. Pic by PA.

The House of Fraser store at the MetroCentre in Gateshead is to close.

Sites in Norwich, Nottingham and Lakeside in Essex will also face closure in the new year.

The landlord of the sites is London-listed Intu, which is in the midst of a potential sale to a group of investors.

Sports Direct said it had engaged with the company but was ultimately "unable to agree reasonable terms for these stores to continue trading".

Chief executive Mike Ashley said: "We had multiple meetings with Intu, but 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."

Sports Direct is now in consultation with staff at the affected stores.

It comes on the same day as Intu pushed back the deadline for a second time on its talks with a consortium of buyers looking to take over the business.

A group led by John Whittaker's Peel Group now has until November 22 to make a firm offer.

Mr Ashley has previously made public statements attacking the "greedy landlords" of House of Fraser stores.

It is understood that many landlords are reluctant to agree to the low rents Mr Ashley is demanding.

The tycoon has warned that time is "running out" and said that some stores will have to close.

Following his acquisition of the chain in August, Mr Ashley pledged to save around 47 of House of Fraser's 59 outlets.

Wednesday's announcement adds to previously announced closures in Edinburgh, Hull and Swindon.

Intu has been contacted for comment.