* You are viewing Posts Tagged ‘House of Fraser’

The closure of Hoopers department store in Carlisle, and what might replace it

Hoopers, Carlisle (9 May 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Hoopers, Carlisle (9 May 2012)

The recent news that Hoopers in Carlisle is to close is clearly a disappointing development for the city, but it’s also very sad for anyone – like me – who values the role that independent department stores play on our high streets.

Across the country, the big three department store chains … Continue Reading

Cirencester’s ex-Woolworths: a window on the rise of discounters

Former Woolworths (now Poundland and Mountain Warehouse), Cirencester (13 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths (now Poundland and Mountain Warehouse), Cirencester (13 Nov 2011)

I often talk about how the fate of ex-Woolworths stores provides a fascinating ‘window’ on the changing high street, and the ex-Woolies in Cirencester (store #394) – which opened on 26 April 1930, 82 years ago today – is no exception.

Looking at the new occupants of former Woolworths gives us a flavour of … Continue Reading

Soult’s Retail Loo: Darlington House of Fraser spruces up its facilities

House of Fraser (Binns), Darlington (1 Mar 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

House of Fraser (Binns), Darlington (1 Mar 2011)

It’s not one of my most well-read posts, but some of you may remember my blog from last March about the disappointing state of the toilet facilities in Darlington’s landmark House of Fraser (Binns) store.

While at first glance it might … Continue Reading

Superdry readies for 18 November opening in Durham

Soon-to-open Superdry, Durham (16 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Soon-to-open Superdry, Durham (16 Nov 2011)

Superdry – the SuperGroup-owned fashion chain of the moment – is gearing up to open its new store in Durham’s Silver Street at 9am this coming Friday (18 November), though the shop was still under wraps when I went past this morning.

By opening in the midst of the Durham Lumiere festival – which runs from 17-20 November, and attracts … Continue Reading

Swindon’s former Woolworths store – past, present and an uncertain future

Former Woolworths (now temporary BHS), Swindon (11 Sep 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths (now temporary BHS), Swindon (11 Sep 2011)

If you saw my earlier post about the shiny new BHS in Swindon, you might be wondering what happened to the retailer during the 18-month period that its old store was being redeveloped. Well, rather … Continue Reading

Newcastle’s TJ Hughes is saved – but Middlesbrough’s is to close within days

Newcastle's TJ Hughes (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Newcastle's TJ Hughes (8 Aug 2011)

There was good news for Newcastle city centre earlier this week, with the announcement that the TJ Hughes store in Grainger Street had been sold, preventing the loss of 76 jobs. However, the … Continue Reading

How to loos customers – and send your brand image down the pan

Not what you expect in an upmarket department store. Photograph by Graham Soult

Not what you expect in an upmarket department store

Apologies for the Richard Whiteley-style headline and the rather gruesome photograph, but if Mary Portas was looking for another retail-related programme idea she could do worse than turn her attention to customer toilet facilities – celebrating the good and exposing the horrible.

Customer loos are a staple of most department stores, and a necessity for those that … Continue Reading

Putting today’s John Lewis sales drop in perspective

John Lewis Oxford Street, London. Photograph by Graham Soult

John Lewis Oxford Street, London

Given how long it’s been since the weekly trading figures for John Lewis department stores last recorded a year-on-year fall in sales, it’s little wonder that the 2.2% sales drop announced today seems to be … Continue Reading

Woolies spotting in Leeds

Original Woolworths (now House of Fraser), Briggate, Leeds (21 Jan 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Original Woolworths (now House of Fraser), Briggate, Leeds (21 Jan 2011)

As you would expect, I used the opportunity of being in Leeds last week to check out the city centre’s former Woolies sites.

Leeds’ original Woolworths in … Continue Reading

New book examines the architectural history of Scotland’s shops

Image from 'Scotland's Shops' book, courtesy of Historic Scotland

Image from 'Scotland's Shops' book, courtesy of Historic Scotland

One of the nice things about running my own architecture subject gateway, Sapling.info, is that I get the opportunity to read about plenty of interesting buildings and places. 

Earlier this week I paid a visit to the attractive and information-packed website of Historic Scotland, ahead of updating Sapling.info’s review … Continue Reading

I haven’t seen one of those in a while…

Back of the WHSmith store in Redcar (17 Sep 2009)

Back of the WHSmith store in Redcar (17 Sep 2009)

Visiting Redcar today, I was amused to spot a little throwback to the past in the form of an old WHSmith fascia, featuring the once familiar cube of ‘W’, ‘H’ and ‘S’ letters. 

Curiously, the main frontage of the store in Redcar High Street features the more up-to-date blue … Continue Reading

John Lewis Bristol and the city’s changing retail landscape

John Lewis Bristol. Photograph by Mattbuck4950

John Lewis Bristol. Photograph by Mattbuck4950

Perhaps it’s a reflection of my status as a retail nerd that one of the first things I usually do on Friday mornings is check out the John Lewis Partnership’s ‘Weekly Figures’.

These weekly stats are strangely compelling in that – probably uniquely for a major UK retailer – John Lewis publishes a store-by-store breakdown for its eponymous department store chain. Hence, … Continue Reading

Vergo Retail – the saviour of unloved Co-op department stores?

Co-op Department Store, Great Yarmouth, prior to Vergo Retail’s takeover. Photograph by Stephen McKay

In the last couple of weeks, one interesting news story that has been easy to miss is the takeover of the East of England Co-op’s department store business by Vergo Retail.

Vergo Retail, as you may be aware, is the Liverpool-based operation headed by David Thompson that, in 2007, rescued Lewis’s of Liverpool, Joplings of Sunderland and Robbs of Hexham from the … Continue Reading