Mike Ashley's Frasers Group acquires Foyleside anchor building formerly occupied by Debenhams and will create 200 jobs
The Frasers Group (owned by Mike Ashley's Sports Direct International plc) have acquired the anchor building – previously occupied by Debenhams – at Foyleside Shopping centre in Derry.
The off-market deal, handled by property advisor, Savills, will see the opening of a new Frasers department store at the centre next year – similar to its anchor store at Victoria Square in Belfast.
Paul Wilson, Director of Retail at Savills who brokered the commented: “We were aware of the necessity for Debenhams to adapt and change its in-store offer to meet changing consumer demands and in the case of Foyleside, this was likely to require a store downsize and lease re-structure.
“As retained consultants and leasing agents to the landlord of Foyleside, we were very aware of the risk associated with the Debenhams covenant and likely capital expenditure required to reconfigure the store and re-purpose the surplus space which would have been created. Knowing the limited pool of end users for this space and that Debenhams business was likely to enter a CVA, we pursed Frasers and successfully struck a deal to sell the freehold interest. The Debenhams CVA gave Frasers the ability to secure vacant possession from a landlord break clause, but a liquidation will speed the process.”
“Bringing Frasers to Foyleside is a massive positive for the centre and the city as a whole. Employing some 200 staff, this will replace the Debenhams with a new relevant retail offering to the centre together with a huge investment to refit the property which we hope will include the stores aspirational Flannels fashion hall.”
Fergal Rafferty Centre Manager commented: “Foyleside welcomes Department store Frasers as the latest addition to its Tenant mix. In what has been a difficult trading environment in 2020, this significant investment will enhance the city centre retail offer as a whole and will reinforce Foyleside as the top regional shopping destination in the North West. Debenhams will continue to trade through the Christmas period in conjunction with the fifty other stores in the centre, with late night shopping until 11pm commencing 11th December with a busy Christmas period anticipated.”
Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan has welcomed the announcement.
She said: “Today’s announcement that Frasers have brought the building occupied by Debenhams at Foyleside Shopping Centre positive news for the city.
“Up to 200 staff are set to be employed, providing a significant boost to the local community, local economy and high street.
"This has been a very difficult and challenging year for retailers, workers and their families and many have been facing an uncertain future and it is encouraging to see this development in Foyleside."
Foyleside is one of the largest retail destinations in Northern Ireland, comprising 370,000 sq. ft. of space with over 51 shops, cafes and restaurants including, Dunnes, M&S, H&M, Boots, Clarks, Next and River Island to name a few.