The landlord of Rackhams has served notice on new House of Fraser owner Mike Ashley to leave the premises – once again throwing the future of the department store into doubt.
The Altrincham store had been earmarked for closure last year before being saved by the Sports Direct owner – with Ashley promising to turn the House of Fraser chain into the “Harrods of the high street”.
As part of the deal M&M Asset Management, which owns the Stamford Quarter, agreed to accept no rent for a year under a short-term lease, one of a number of similar deals struck by Ashley after he bought the chain out of administration last year.
But with little progress having been made in the seven months since, M&M appears to have lost patience and decided instead to convert the store into residential apartments, according to The Guardian.
Iain Minto, M&M’s shopping centre director, said: “We can’t sit around and wait forever for House of Fraser to do something.
“Sports Direct have been in this building for nine months and at the moment they’re still trying work out what to do with the wider business. We don’t want the building to sit there forever and a day, we want to invest in the town.
“You have to bear in mind that there are nearly 60 House of Fraser stores across the company. I imagine there will be other landlords with House of Fraser, scratching their heads wondering what to do with the space.”
The news represents more uncertainty for the 45 staff employed by Rackhams, which has been a fixture of the Altrincham high street for decades.