House of Fraser stays optimistic

Kinnersley Kent is designing a new interiors concept for department store chain House of Fraser, amid speculation about the possible closure of ten stores.

A four-storey Leeds store has just opened, masterminded by Kinnersley Kent with input from Surrey consultancy Ager Design and House of Fraser’s in-house team. Some elements of US group FRCH’s earlier designs for the Swindon House of Fraser store have been incorporated.

This is Kinnersley Kent’s “first step” towards a brand new interiors concept for House of Fraser, according to partner Glenn Kinnersley.

A House of Fraser spokeswoman says the new designs are “in no way a last ditch attempt to boost funds and prevent store closures”.

And Kinnersley adds that the possible closures are “more to do with customer strategy – a plan for stores to appear with a new look – than a shortage of funds”.

The group was appointed in May without a pitch. The concepts will be unveiled at a new store in Nottingham in September 1997, to be followed by new outlets in Dartford and Reading and a refurbishment in Solihull.

Elements of Kinnersley Kent’s concept – described as “modern and European” – will be implemented into other existing stores. The Partners-designed House of Fraser logo remains unaffected.

P&O Stena Line, the result of a merger of the UK’s two largest cross-Channel ferry operators, is using a combination of both companies’ logos until a permanent identity is developed.

A P&O spokesman says that this is ‘just for the time being. We may go outside to find a designer or keep it in-house’.

P&O has also merged its container shipping operations with Holland’s Nedlloyd Group, which will trade as P&O North Sea Ferries from January. ‘The logo could well need changing. There are no designers working on it at the moment,’ comments a spokeswoman.

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