Retail shockwave could hit Birmingham, says expert

More retailers could soon leave Birmingham city centre in the wake of the announced closure of the city’s iconic House of Fraser department store, according to a leading retail expert.

The planned departure of House of Fraser from the city’s shopping scene is a devastating blow which has sent shockwaves through the retail sector, according to Nick Wint, head of the retail professional department at Birmingham-based chartered surveyors Johnson Fellows.

Nick said: “The closure of House of Fraser in Corporation Street will be a considerable loss to Birmingham.

“It is an iconic landmark building with a long and successful history and the decision will send shock waves throughout the city centre. It’s a real shame as the city has been on the up recently, with the openings of Grand Central and the redevelopment of the Pavillions for Primark’s new store.

“It’s a devastating blow to the area around Corporation Street and, in particular, the smaller shops that need the footfall the store generates. They are now facing an uncertain future.”

He added: “It’s difficult to see how Corporation Street will ever recover as one of the city’s main shopping streets. There will be many retailers on Corporation Street now considering their future and I am already aware of one major multiple retailer, in another town where House of Fraser is closing, who have told me they will not be renewing their lease.”

House of Fraser last week announced that 31 of its 60 stores nationwide would close, putting thousands of jobs at risk. The Birmingham store, at nearly half a million sq ft, is the largest outside London. It currently draws shoppers to the side of the city centre near St Philip’s Cathedral and a range of small independent shops and restaurants at Great Western Arcade and Colmore Row.