Relief for House of Fraser caterer after talks with Mike Ashley lead to agreement

Massarella Catering Group – which operates 47 coffee shops and restaurants inside House of Fraser stores – believes the department store’s takeover by Sports Direct leaves its own business better off than it would have been had the previous CVA proposal gone ahead.

Sports Direct snapped up all of the UK stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the associated stock from administrators last week in a cash deal worth £90m.

The company has since started meeting with various House of Fraser suppliers and concessions, including South Yorkshire-based Massarella, which has had a strong foodservice partnership with the retailer for a number of years.

Managing director Mark Massarella met with Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley and his team last week to clarify the implications of the acquisition. And he said: “I can report that we had a positive meeting and have reached an agreement to continue trading all of our restaurants within House of Fraser. Although this does not overcome all the difficulties that we have sustained through the administration of House of Fraser, I am hopeful that we will be able to retain more of our business than we had originally expected under the previous CVA proposal.”

Mr Massarella said the two parties had reached common ground following the talks.

“We have agreed terms with Sports Direct which now stabilises the company’s situation and gives us the opportunity to continue trading all the coffee shops within the stores. I was impressed with Mike Ashley’s aspirations for House of Fraser, coupled with the level of funds that he is proposing to invest which should breathe new life into many of the stores.”

Massarella Catering Group operates 120 coffee shops and restaurants within the retail sector. House of Fraser accounts for 40% of those.

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