Designer clothing chain owned by Mike Ashley to shut town centre shop after 40 years as it begins closing down sale

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A DESIGNER chain owned by Mike Ashley is set to shut up shop at one of its locations after 40 years of business.

Mike Ashley‘s Fraser Group will permanently close its Fraser’s branch in Middlesbrough in September.

Google Street ViewFrasers Department Store in Middlesbrough will shut its doors in September[/caption]

Closing down signs have been slapped on the Linthorpe Roads store’s windows, urging bargain hunters to scoop a 20% discount off full price items.

Tycoon Ashley nabbed the designer retailer, which traded for almost 40 years on the high street, in December 2020 for an undisclosed sum and gave the store its new name Frasers – with new signs put up in September 2022.

It comes as Frasers Group has been shaking up its portfolio across the UK amid a turbulent time for retailers.

USC is set to pull down the shutters on its shop at The Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

It shut down another USC branch in Stockton-on-Tees in December last year after launching a closing-down sale.

House of Fraser, also owned by Frasers Group, closed its store in Carlisle in May.

The chain has shuttered several stores since last year, including in Birmingham, Cardiff and Guildford.

A Sports Direct branch in Stroud, Gloucestershire, also pulled the shutters down for good at the end of March.

Sports Direct also called time on its branch in the Central Six Retail Park, Coventry, at the end of January.

A Flannels site in Market Place Shopping Centre, Bolton, closed for the final time in the new year.

It also shut its site in Bradford in January despite only opening back in October.

Why are retailers closing shops?

EMPTY shops have become an eyesore on many British high streets and are often symbolic of a town centre’s decline.

The Sun’s business editor Ashley Armstrong explains why so many retailers are shutting their doors.
In many cases, retailers are shutting stores because they are no longer the money-makers they once were because of the rise of online shopping.
Falling store sales and rising staff costs have made it even more expensive for shops to stay open. In some cases, retailers are shutting a store and reopening a new shop at the other end of a high street to reflect how a town has changed.
The problem is that when a big shop closes, footfall falls across the local high street, which puts more shops at risk of closing.
Retail parks are increasingly popular with shoppers, who want to be able to get easy, free parking at a time when local councils have hiked parking charges in towns.
Many retailers including Next and Marks & Spencer have been shutting stores on the high street and taking bigger stores in better-performing retail parks instead.
Boss Stuart Machin recently said that when it relocated a tired store in Chesterfield to a new big store in a retail park half a mile away, its sales in the area rose by 103 per cent.
In some cases, stores have been shut when a retailer goes bust, as in the case of Wilko, Debenhams Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Paperchase to name a few.
What’s increasingly common is when a chain goes bust a rival retailer or private equity firm snaps up the intellectual property rights so they can own the brand and sell it online.
They may go on to open a handful of stores if there is customer demand, but there are rarely ever as many stores or in the same places.

However, it’s not all bad news as the Frasers Group has been opening stores across the UK as well.

In recent months it has welcomed in customers to “new concept” stores which sell brands from across the group including Sports Direct and Jack Wills.

Last September, it cut the ribbon on one of the stores in Norwich and has opened two more of the stores in Blackpool and Sheffield.

Plus, it has plans to open one of the concept stores in a former John Lewis site at Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough by the end of 2025.

The firm also took on the famous Compton House in Liverpool earlier this year and will reopen the site as its flagship Sports Direct branch.

Frasers Group also snapped up luxury chain Choice in 2022 and has since rebranded some of them as Flannels.

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