Norfolk

House of Fraser store to close in Norwich

House of Fraser in Norwich Image copyright Geograph/Richard Humphrey
Image caption House of Fraser opened in Chapelfield shopping centre in Norwich in 2005

Department store House of Fraser is to close its branch in Norwich, it has been announced.

The operator of Chapelfield shopping centre, where the shop is based, said it could not come to a deal with the chain's new owner Sports Direct.

It will be one of four House of Fraser stores to shut in the latest tranche of closures announced on Wednesday.

Sports Direct said it was unable to agree "reasonable terms" with landlord Intu.

It would not say how many jobs were at risk.

Other stores facing closure are at Intu sites at Lakeside in Essex, the Metrocentre in Newcastle, and the Victoria Centre in Nottingham, according to Sports Direct.

In a statement, it said: "We had various meetings with the landlord, Intu, and adopted a flexible approach.

"Despite our best efforts we have been unable to agree reasonable terms... sadly, we are now in consultation with staff about the fact these stores face closure.

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley added: "I urge other institutional landlords to be more proactive to help save the HoF stores in their schemes."

Image caption Shoppers in Norwich said they would be disappointed to see the store go

Chapelfield operator Intu said it had been told the Norwich store would close "next year" as part of a "national stores review".

It said it was now in negotiations with other brands looking to open stores at Chapelfield, while existing companies were reviewing "their presence" in Norwich.

'Quite a blow'

The three-storey House of Fraser store has been a flagship tenant ever since the shopping centre opened in 2005.

The news of its closure has been met with dismay by people in the city.

"I am not surprised, but disappointed - people will be sorry to see it go," said one shopper.

Another said: "It's terrible - our friend works there and she thought it would be OK, so it's quite a blow."

The chain was bought out by Sports Direct in August for £90m after the chain went into administration.

Following the purchase, Mr Ashley said he was hopeful that most of the department store chain's 59 sites would remain open.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mike Ashley bought House of Fraser for £90m in August

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