Debenhams vacated the unit last year. Credit: via archive

Frasers to take over Blackpool Debenhams 

The group owned by retail tycoon Mike Ashley has signed to take over the vacant 100,000 sq ft unit within Houndshill Shopping Centre. 

Blackpool’s former Debenhams, which closed last year when the retailer collapsed, will remain as a department store and feature Frasers Group brands including Flannels and Sports Direct. 

The existing Sports Direct store on Bank Hey Street is expected to close. 

Blackpool Council had been trying to find a new tenant for the unit for more than a year. 

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said the Frasers deal was “an enormously significant moment” for the town centre. 

She added: “After the closure of Debenhams in 2021, we were determined to find the right sort of replacement anchor tenant – one that would have a hugely positive impact on the Houndshill and match our ambitions for the rejuvenation of the wider town centre. 

“Our patience and perseverance have paid off. Frasers group has compelling national brands that will form a vital new anchor and cement our place as a regional shopping destination.” 

Frasers’ Blackpool venture is similar to the group’s plans in Newcastle, announced this summer. 

There, Frasers signed a 15-year lease on the 130,000 sq ft former Debenhams store. The company plans to divide the unit into a 70,000 sq ft store for Flannels on the ground floor and a 60,000 sq ft Sports Direct on the first floor. 

James France, head of property at Frasers Group, said: “The confirmation of Frasers Blackpool marks an exciting time for the group as we continue to expand our store portfolio across the UK and Europe.  

“The store will bring an aspirational lifestyle proposition to the town as we continue to demonstrate our commitment to physical retail and opening leading shopping destinations in key regional markets outside of major cities.” 

The arrival of Frasers marks the latest success for Houndshill since the council acquired the complex for almost £50m in 2019. 

Work is progressing on the creation of a nine-screen cinema, to be operated by MMC Cinemas, as well as a new 22,000 sq ft Wilko unit within a new-build extension to the complex. 

Barker Proudlove and Lunson Mitchenall are joint agents at Houndshill. Ellandi manages the shopping centre for the council. 

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