Euan McGrory: Could Mike Ashley be Jenners saviour

House of Fraser, which owns Jenners department store, could go under with a Chinese investor pulling out
House of Fraser, which owns Jenners department store, could go under with a Chinese investor pulling out
0
Have your say

These are worrying times for everyone who works at the Capital’s most famous store.

There was a time when working at Jenners meant a job for life and the prestige of working for a great institution. That, however, has not been case for some time. The plight of its owners House of Fraser - who run the risk of going bankrupt - shows just how much things have changed on the high street.

The chain’s chairman Frank Slevin talked of having to confront “seismic shifts in the retail industry” when it announced the closure of 31 stores in June. Quite simply it has failed to keep up with our changing shopping habits, on and offline. The collapse of a rescue deal now leaves the company staring into the abyss.

One potential saviour is said to be the discount king Mike Ashley who has made a career out of buying distressed brands and sweating new profits out of them. The idea of the Jenners name being used to flog cut-price goods like Ashley did with famous brands such as Dunlop will appall any faithful customers that might remain.

Whatever happens to Frasers, someone is certain to snap up the Jenners business, but there won’t be a queue round the block.