Shropshire Star

Beatties store saved from closure by House of Fraser

Wolverhampton's iconic Beatties store has been saved from closure by the new owners of the House of Fraser, it was revealed today.

Saved - Beatties in Wolverhampton

It comes in the same week that the 80 staff at Shrewsbury's House of Fraser store were told their store would be closing in January, and six weeks since Telford's House of Fraser store was handed a reprieve – saving 150 jobs.

The 141-year-old Beatties store, which is part of the House of Fraser group, will stay open after Mike Ashley and the property team at his Sports Direct company sealed a deal with the building's owners.

The news was broken to delighted staff at the store this morning.

Store manager Debbie Eggerton said: "This is fantastic news and the staff are delighted. A huge cheer went up when it was announced and there was some hugs and tears. Beatties is the heart of Wolverhampton and it is great that the new owners of House of Fraser are supporting us."

A spokesperson for House of Fraser said: "As you know, Beatties had been earmarked for closure under the previous owners. However, we are pleased to confirm that we have now agreed new terms with the landlord in order to keep the store open."

Talks have been going on since Mr Ashley bought House of Fraser out of administration for £90m eight weeks ago.

A dark shadow has loomed over Beatties for months after it was first slated for closure as part of a rescue plan drawn up by the previous House of Fraser bosses, which involved shutting more than half the 59 stores nationwide.

That plan fell apart and the company went into administration on August 10, to be immediately bought by Mr Ashley and his Sports Direct company.

But as time dragged on, fears had grown that the protracted talks with the Beatties landlords would be unsuccessful.

Since the Sports Direct takeover, a string of stores up and down the country had confirmed they would be closing as talks with site owners foundered, although more than 20 stores including the flagship Oxford Street branch and Telford were saved.

In frustration, Mr Ashley lashed out at "greedy" landlords who were frustrating his plans to create a "Harrods of the High Street".