Frasers Group making ‘huge push’ into vacant shop space around Europe, UK

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Frasers Group PLC (LON:FRAS) is looking to accelerate the expansion of its retail chains, which include Sports Direct, Flannels and Evans Cycles, around the UK and Europe after swathes of shops were vacated during coronavirus lockdowns over the past 15 months.

The company is looking to move into the large tracts of vacant shop space as non-essential retailers struggled through the coronavirus lockdown and the structural shift towards digital shopping.

Frasers head of elevation Michael Murray told Property Week the company is eyeing “lots and lots of stores” around the UK, including former department stores, as well as making a “huge push” into “all capital cities around Europe”.

The FTSE 250-listed group itself said in April that it anticipates doubling its accounting impairments to freehold properties and other assets in 2021, with write-downs potentially topping £200mln, which it blamed on the length of the UK lockdowns and potential “systemic changes to consumer behaviour”. In the previous year it wrote down assets by £125mln.

But Murray said the company has proven that its new ‘elevatation strategy’ works and with landlords keen to do business, it was a question of “how many can we physically do” per year.

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