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More than 600 jobs at House of Fraser warehouses ‘at risk’


More than 600 jobs are under threat at House of Fraser warehouses operated by XPO Logistics, a union has said.

XPO Logistics, which has been in dispute over an unpaid bill of £30m with the firm’s new owner, has put 627 workers on a 45-day consultation notice from Friday, the GMB claimed.

XPO operated depots in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, and Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, to handle all deliveries to House of Fraser customers’ homes and stores.

House of Fraser collapsed earlier this month and was bought from the administrator by Mike Ashley, the billionaire owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United, for £90m.

Mr Ashley has said he will not pay creditors for debts prior to his takeover.

Alan Costello, GMB organiser, said: “This is a massive blow to our members based at depots in Wellingbrough and Milton Keynes who have been left in limbo.

Gucci is among those owed money by House of Fraser
Image:
Gucci is among those owed money by House of Fraser

“It’s time for Mike Ashley to show that his rescue plan for House of Fraser is not simply a plan to boost his bank balance at the expense of House of Fraser workers and our members.”

Mulberry, another House of Fraser supplier, issued a profit warning on Monday, saying it would take a £3m hit to its profit because of the chain store’s collapse. The luxury handbag maker is owned £2.4m.

House of Fraser’s administrators Ernst & Young (EY) said the store owed millions to its creditors before its collapse, with companies like Versace, Gucci and Prada among the big names out of pocket.

Mr Ashley bought House of Fraser in a “pre-packaged administration”, which means he can drop certain liabilities through the insolvency process.

Most of the money will be used by the administrators to pay banks and bondholders.

Mr Ashley has said he will save around 47 of House of Fraser’s 59 stores, and he plans to transform the retailer into the “Harrods of the high street”.

XPO logistics and Sports Direct have been contacted for comment.



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