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Ashley sacks entire House of Fraser management team

Mike Ashley’s firm has sacked the senior management at House of Fraser just weeks after it bought the department store chain.

In a one-sentence announcement to the stock market, Sports Direct said it had “dismissed the former directors and senior management of House of Fraser”.

The move followed “calls for an investigation” into the retailer’s collapse, the statement added.

Sports Direct paid £90m for House of Fraser’s 58 UK stores in August.

Those departing the chain will include chief executive Alex Williamson.

It is not clear who will replace the management team at House of Fraser, or how many people are affected by the decision.

Richard Lim of Retail Economics, a consultancy, said the new owner had taken “drastic action following a series of woeful management decisions, clumsy execution and an outdated perception of the UK market”.

He added: “The retailer operates in the part of the industry under the most significant amount of pressure and the race is on to rapidly restructure the business to ensure the takeover is a success.”

Mr Ashley has vowed to turn the department store chain into the “Harrods of the high street” and to keep most of its stores open.

“We think the biggest and most important thing House of Fraser is missing is luxury brands.

“We think it will make a big difference,” he told the Sun.

Later in August, Sports Direct warned “greedy landlords” resisting its attempts to reduce rents on some stores that “time is running out” to keep the doors open.

Last month, Sports Direct was forced to rule out making a takeover bid for Debenhams after Simon Bentley, an outgoing director of Sports Direct, said the board had discussed combining the two department store chains.

Mr Ashley’s firm owns a 29.7% stake in Debenhams.

Mr Bentley later said he had “made no mention of any merger”.

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BBC News – Business

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