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House of Fraser: A Timeline of their History

Thriving in the retail industry for more than 150 years, House of Fraser is a reputable UK department store that has maintained its eminence, even through some of the more challenging retail climates.

Early Years

Founded in 1849, business partners Hugh Fraser and James Arthur opened what we now know as House of Fraser. Then named Arthur & Fraser, the store started out as a humble little drapery shop on the corner of Argyle Street and Buchanan Street in Glasgow, Scotland.

Long before they became business partners, Hugh Fraser was a former employee and warehouse manager of Steward & McDonald Ltd (which was later bought by the House of Fraser), while James Arthur was the previous owner of a retail drapery shop.

Years after establishing a wholesale trade, tension began to surface between the two partners– causing it to falter. As a result, Fraser decided to focus on the retail business and he established a partnership with the business’ manager, Alexander McLaren – renaming the store Fraser & McLaren. In 1873, Fraser died at the age of 51.

1890s to 1910s

The trustees had to manage the retail business until Fraser’s sons were of the legal age, at which point, James, John and Hugh joined the partnership – the retail business took the name Fraser & Sons. Hugh soon gained control over the business and formed Fraser & Sons Ltd in 1909.

1920s to 1940s

With Hugh’s skills in retail, the business continued to thrive. Fraser II died in 1927 but he left the business in the capable hands of Hugh Fraser III.

After expanding the retail store at Buchanan Street, Fraser III purchased several businesses which were considered as a canny investment during the recession.

Before the end of the 1940s, the business had expanded into 16 different branches across Scotland. 

1950s to 1970s

Under the control of Fraser’s sons, the business began to reach across Scotland, through North East England and into Carlisle. In 1951, the company bought McDonalds Ltd and in 1957, the House of Fraser also controlled Harrods.

The following years saw the company acquiring more companies, retaining the stability and success of the ever-growing House of Fraser Group.

1980s to 1990s

Under new ownership, the group became House of Fraser plc. and continued to strengthen its connections with other companies. The group also decided to cater to a larger set of consumers but particularly focusing on the younger generation.

21st Century

One of the biggest department stores in the UK today, House of Fraser launched renowned house brands like Womenswear and Menswear in the 2000s.

Going international in 2013, House of Fraser opened the doors to its first store in Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Center Mall. In 2015 new owner, Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co. Ltd., took on the successful chain.

More than just a department store, House of Fraser takes great pride in its prestige, offering a magical walk-in wardrobe for anyone in search of clothing and accessories from unrivalled brands that include Armani Jeans, Chanel, MAC, Michael Kors and Polo Ralph Lauren.

The finest products require the finest shop fittings! KAS Shopfittings specialises in everything from shelving to garment displays and we are delighted to have worked with House of Fraser. Please call 01793 754230 for more information about our products.

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