Mike Ashley Threatening Intu Store Closures

Monday, 26th November 2018

Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United, has warned that he would shutter 15 stores that he currently has located in Intu malls spread across the UK. The closures would include Sports Direct and House of Fraser branches, as well as USC, Flannels and Evans Cycles.

Ashley has been involved in an ongoing dispute with Intu over an attempt to secure rent deals for House of Fraser stores. He was hoping to pay little or no rent for the House of Fraser branches in Lakeside, Norwich, Nottingham and Gateshead Metrocentre. Ashley claims that closing all of the stores, which he is threatening to do when the leases expire or reach a break clause, would cost Intu millions each year in lost rent and service charges. He said that Intu has shown that they are not willing to work with retailers to save stores and protect jobs, and that he feels it is unrealistic for Intu to continue to have a long time relationship with his retail businesses.

The threats from Ashley come just days before an expected takeover bid for Intu from a consortium that is headed up by John Wittaker, the CEO of the Peel Group and the owner of the Durham Tees Valley Airport.

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