House of Fraser’s imminent closure spells trouble for popular Italian restaurant
Popular Italian restaurant San Carlo Cicchetti could be forced to move from its prime spot on King Street West, following the news that House of Fraser (aka Kendals) could close in January.
The fate of the iconic Deansgate department store rests with Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley, who paid £90m for the struggling House of Fraser group in August. Ashley sacked the company's senior management team just weeks later, including chief executive Alex Williamson.
The Deansgate store had survived the initial round of closures, but reports state that its 160 staff have today been informed that the store will close on January 28th.
Let's just say we're pleased that we acquired the site next door
Responding to the news on Twitter, San Carlo boss Marcello Distefano said: "Kendals is an institution in Manchester. To see it go would be a very sad loss for the city. Our family has a long relationship with the store, from the days when my father had Figaro barber shop in the basement to the first ever Cicchetti restaurant."
San Carlo Cicchetti opened on the ground floor of House of Fraser in 2011, following the success of Manchester's flagship San Carlo restaurant, which opened on the same road seven years before, attracting high-profile guests including the Beckhams, Russell Crowe and Rihanna.
Speaking to Confidential, Distefano said the San Carlo group were now "considering their options". "Let's just say we're pleased that we acquired the site next door," he added, referring to the site earmarked for San Carlo's new pizza concept, Pizza Madre. "Nothing has been confirmed at this stage."
The news of the imminent closure of Kendals has been met with widespread dismay in Manchester.
First opened as Watts in 1832, the store later became Kendal, Milne & Faulkner when three employees bought the business in 1836.
By the 1890s, the store employed over 900 staff, opening tearooms and new departments. Harrods purchased the store in 1919, eventually replacing the building with a new Art Deco design by architect E.J. Thompson.
House of Fraser acquired Kendal's in 1959, when it purchased Harrods Stores Ltd, and has managed the building ever since.
More to follow...