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Fenwick Reported to Have Pulled Out of Negotiation to Take Over House of Fraser Store

Published on: 21 Nov, 2023
Updated on: 23 Nov, 2023

The House of Fraser store on Guildford High Street, closed since September 30

By Martin Giles

Rumours that Fenwick has pulled out of its negotiation to take up tenancy of the closed House of Fraser department store in Guildford High Street appear to have been confirmed.

Retail Week is reporting that “Fenwick has been unable to agree a deal with landlord Canada Life for the 186,000 sq ft site. A source close to the discussions said that Fenwick had been ‘very interested’ in the site, but had been unable to reach an agreement.”

See also: Closing Down Signs Suddenly Appear at House of Fraser – Store to Close in September

Fenwick has told The Dragon it has “no comment on this” and Canada life has not responded to enquiries.

House of Fraser closed the Guildford branch on September 30. Canada Life purchased the freehold in 2009 for £31 million, leasing the whole property to House of Fraser (Stores) Ltd until July 2039.

Fenwick has nine stores across the UK but is due to close its iconic New Bond Street store early next year after more than 130 years of trading, saying it faced “challenging trading conditions”.

See also: Comment – What Next for the House of Fraser Store?

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Responses to Fenwick Reported to Have Pulled Out of Negotiation to Take Over House of Fraser Store

  1. David Smith Reply

    November 21, 2023 at 8:48 pm

    What a shame. Now, with no clear future, I think GBC should serve a Section 215 Notice on Canada Life which will force them to put the building in good external repair. The building is in a dreadful state both on the North Street and High Street elevations, looks like nothing has been maintained since the refurbishment back in 2000s.

  2. Frank Emery Reply

    November 24, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    Would the last person leaving Guildford, please turn out the lights, if there is any power left to light them!

    What a shambles.

  3. Nathan Cassidy Reply

    November 28, 2023 at 11:43 am

    A similar story across the UK: high-streets empty because all the property is owned by pension funds who would rather artificially keep the asset price high instead of lowering the rent to attract tenants.

    I hope a new government will do something about this problem. Possibly by increasing business rates on empty properties the longer they remain vacant. Then landlords may be encouraged to lower the rents sufficiently so that we may once again have bustling high streets.

  4. Adrian Munn Reply

    December 9, 2023 at 9:38 am

    I’m so angry that this has fallen through it would have made a huge difference to Guildford.

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