Dundrum shoppers have been left reeling as the new House of Fraser owners are not honouring gift vouchers.
House of Fraser stopped accepting gift cards and vouchers after it was placed into administration. Sports Direct stepped in earlier this month with a £90m deal and rescued the department store group out of administration, however, the Dundrum store must deal with regulatory issues before a takeover can be complete.
Financial services firm EY, who is acting administrator for House of Fraser, said the move to stop accepting gift cards follows a decision by the Sports Direct group to suspend accepting them at the stores it acquired.
EY said: “To have had a different approach would have caused confusion and we are evaluating the position with the Sports Direct group.
“Customers already in possession of gift cards and vouchers should retain them as they will either be the evidence they require to submit their claims to the administrators or be available for redemption should there be a decision to lift the suspension.”
EY went on to say that they said they are discussing the matter with the Sports Direct Group and will evaluate the situation on an ongoing basis, but in the meantime, it said it is business as usual and the store will continue to trade as normal during the administration process.
On the House of Fraser’s Twitter page, it said they are also not accepting gift card or vouchers on their website.
Dublin Rathdown Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond is urging the new owners of the department store to honour existing gift vouchers, despite the change of ownership.
“I am calling on them to honour the terms of these gift vouchers and to accept them in their Dundrum store.
“While I acknowledge there are a number of regulatory issues to be resolved before a takeover can be complete, Sports Direct should reassure the over 200 staff that their jobs are safe and reassure the many loyal customers that their vouchers and credit notes will be accepted.”
Meanwhile, there have been reports that some concessions are planning to move out of the House of Fraser store. The Jigsaw concession has already cleared their shelves and left.
There is a mixed reaction amongst the House of Fraser employees in Dundrum.
Some told us they “can’t see the place closing” and that it is “business as usual” while others told us they fear for their jobs.
One employee said she is scared to lose her job: “We’ve no deliveries. We’ve no stock. We’re losing the faith of our customers.
“Nobody knows what’s going on. We haven’t been told anything. There’s a lack of communication as usual.”
The source told us that some of her colleagues have been let go and that she has started to look for a new job.
“I have a few [plans]. I’ve already started looking [for a new job]. The girls have been told one by one not to come back, especially the younger ones. Their contracts are all up. “They were all on short term contracts for the summer, but they’ve been told not to come back. That wouldn’t usually happen. [The company] would usually keep most of the girls on because of Christmas coming up.”
In terms of the vouchers, she said although they have been told not to accept House of Fraser vouchers, there has recently been a breakthrough in other vouchers.
“Now we are taking the Dundrum vouchers and the One For All vouchers which is a great positive step forward. “But because House of Fraser technically doesn’t exist anymore we can’t take them. But, that could all be sorted.”