Devon

House of Fraser closure a 'blow' for city

store today
Image caption It's thought 250 jobs in Plymouth will be affected as a result of the closure

The proposed closure of "quality" House of Fraser in Plymouth is a "huge blow" for the city.

It is one of 31 stores earmarked for closure - announced by the department store chain today.

Devon Chamber of Commerce says there now needs to be a "fundamental think through" in how the city is going to move forward.

The department store is one of Plymouth's landmark buildings and shopping destinations.

More on the House of Fraser closure plans, and other news from Devon

Image caption House of Fraser, previously known as Dingles, was "the place to go" in Plymouth

After the city was flattened during World War Two, Plymouth was rebuilt with a custom-made building for House of Fraser - previously known as Dingles.

It is thought about 250 jobs in the city are to be affected with direct job losses at the store and also the knock-on effect for other adjoining stores.

Image caption Shops already closed near the House of Fraser store in Plymouth have not been replaced

Chief executive of Devon Chamber of Commerce said there needed to be a "viable" city centre for Plymouth to remain a "retail experience".

"It's a massive blow for Plymouth.

"It's incumbent on the council, businesses and the general population to see how we can ensure we have something that is truly viable," he added.

1988 House of Fraser Plymouth fire

Image caption The fire was started by animal rights activists
  • There was a major fire at the Plymouth store in 1988 when animal rights activists broke in and set fire to the fur coats
  • At the time, the blaze was the biggest many Devon and Cornwall fire officers had seen
  • The fire raged unchecked as the store had no sprinkler system
  • At the height of the fire, about 120 fire officers and 20 fire engines were on the scene
Image caption Despite the huge blaze, only one person suffered minor injuries

Shopper Linda from Exeter said it was "always THE place to go" in the city.

"When I was a child and my grandparents lived there, we always went into town and went into Dingles.

"It was the quality store in Plymouth," she said.

Devon's other branch store in Exeter is to remain open.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites