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Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group reveals big plans for Derby

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group has revealed plans to take over several units in Derby city centre – including the former Debenham’s store in the Derbion shopping centre.

The chain said it plans to open a Frasers department store in the three-story unit which became permanently vacant when Debenham’s pulled the plug in May.

The 127,000 sq ft space is the biggest in the shopping centre complex, and Sports Direct will also operate within the store. Derbion’s existing Sports Direct outlet will close down when Frasers opens in 2022.

Frasers Group has also confirmed it is taking on a former Topshop unit, bringing its luxury sportswear retailer Flannels to the 24,000 sq. ft space.

And Frasers Group has confirmed it will also take a further 50,000 sq ft space which housed the former BHS department store in St Peter’s Street.

Earlier this year, a planning application went in to turn that store into a House of Fraser designer outlet and Evans Cycles, though bosses at Derbion say details of the identities of the stores opening in that space have not yet been finalised.

Once all three stores are open, Frasers Group will operate in 20 per cent of the floor space available across the whole centre.

Derbion general manager Adam Tamsett said: “The retail landscape is continuing to shift, and our ambitious plans for the centre complement the rapid changes that retailers are facing.

“By taking an agile, forward-thinking approach, the team has been able to secure 200,000 sq ft of new leasings this year, an incredible feat given the current climate.”

Frasers Group has its headquarters in Shirebrook, Derbyshire.

Debenhams had been one of the shopping centre’s flagship stores when it first opened as Westfield in 2007, having relocated from Victoria Street.

Frasers is the luxury offshoot of House of Fraser, which the group acquired in a £90 million pre-pack administration deal in August 2018. House of Fraser has never had a presence in Derby.

The UK’s first Frasers store opened in Wolverhampton in April, with the new Derby store set to be the first to open in the East Midlands region.

Set to open by the end of this year, Flannels, acquired by Frasers Group in 2017, stocks designer brands including Balenciaga, Gucci and Jimmy Choo.

Mr Tamsett said: “There is no doubt the last year has been challenging for our sector, but it comes with opportunity.

“It’s particularly rewarding to be able to announce our exciting partnership with the Frasers Group, with their headquarters not far from us in Shirebrook, and we’re looking forward to welcoming their popular brands to Derbion.

“The significant investment planned for the centre further signals the complete confidence that we have in Derby.

“With many significant, multi-million pound projects happening on our doorstep, £15 million secured as part of the Future High Street Fund and the recent announcement that Derby will be bidding to become the UK’s City of Culture in 2025, the future is very bright.”

The new stores will follow Tommy Hilfiger, which opened in June, and Mango, which is set to open in November, in arriving at Derbion.

After a long-running saga, online clothing giant Boohoo confirmed in January it had bought the Debenhams brand for £55 million and will relaunch the department store as an online-only operation.

The 242-year-old retailer had closed all of its UK stores by mid-May, including the Derbion branch and the store in Chesterfield.

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