Many continue to debate whether we are seeing the slow decline of the British high street. In fact, the Centre for Retail Research has predicted 2018 will be the worst year with more than 10,000 stores ceasing to being used for retail on the high street. However, with the recent news that Sports Direct has agreed to buy the House of Fraser department store chain for £90m, is this a signal to the contrary? Despite being an investor already and the fate of the employees and 59 stores unclear, why would Mike Ashley salvage House of Fraser if the high street was disappearing?
This move shows that brick and mortar stores may not be dying as they are still very much part of the customer experience. Some consumers will always prefer being able to go into a store to purchase their items. However, the high street does have to re-imagine its place in the customer journey in order to survive. And brands need to create a shopping experience that is both unique and seamless for consumers both in-store and online.
Sports Direct in a statement said: "the Group has acquired all of the UK stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the stock in the business."