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Exclusive: House of Fraser distribution centres reopen

House of Fraser’s distribution centres in Wellingborough and Milton Keynes are reopening on 24 August, following a standoff between the retailer’s new owner Mike Ashley and site operator XPO Logistics, Drapers has learned.

In a letter seen by Drapers, House of Fraser’s CEO Alex Williamson said the centres are expecting to be able to take receipt of concession deliveries, collect from suppliers and process stock to the stores from Friday 24 August.

He added that all services including own bought and own brand supplies will be resumed “as soon as possible”.

Sports Direct and XPO have been at loggerheads since HoF fell into administration on 10 August.

HoF took its website offline on 15 August following a dispute with XPO, which stopped accepting goods and processing deliveries for the retailer. The following day HoF ed shoppers to say it has cancelled all orders that have not yet been sent.

The HoF website is still down and directing shoppers to Flannels, which is also owned by Sports Direct. One source told Drapers the website would also begin operating on 24 August.

XPO Logistics is owed £30.4m by HoF and as a result placed more than 600 members of staff into consultation this week. GMB, the union for the logistics workers, said a total of 627 jobs are being cut.

This week brands warned Drapers of job losses, profit shortfalls and even risk of closure as debts owed by HoF were revealed.

Meanwhile Ashley struck a deal to keep HoF’s Oxford Street and Telford stores.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Come on Mike Ashley pay up ! So many suppliers have supplied goods to HOF in good faith. Don’t be the next Philip Green ....start on the the right track and pay suppliers for what they have delivered 60 days ago!!

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  • Have a look back at all the money that has been sucked out of the business over the last decade - follow the money! It's not Ashley that should pay up, He's bought the business debt free from the administrator and will have based his ability to make this a profitable business again on that basis. He doesn't make the rules and he didn't run it into the situation it was in two weeks ago.

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  • I severely doubt their website will be operational again instantaneously as your source suggests.

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  • Ashley isn't going to pay anyone a penny more than he is legally required to. The blame lies fair and square with the owners prior to him.

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  • come On Mike Ashley pay up? Are we saying Mike Ashley should pay up for all of the mistakes made at HOF over the past years. Should he also pay the landlords, HMRC, employees etc etc. Sorry but although not great this was always going to be the outcome, the alternative is that HOF would disappear from the High Street altogether.

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