Frasers Group acquires Doncaster's Frenchgate Centre in High Street revival bid

In a significant move for British retail, Frasers Group, the owner of Sports Direct, has purchased the Frenchgate Centre in Doncaster for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition of the 770,000 square foot shopping complex, which welcomes over 16 million customers annually, signals the group's commitment to revitalising brick-and-mortar retail.

Michael Murray, Chief Executive of Frasers Group and Doncaster native, expressed enthusiasm for the deal: "The acquisition of Frenchgate Centre in Doncaster further demonstrates the group's commitment to investing in bricks and mortar. We are committed to reinventing retail and injecting new life into high streets across the UK to bring the very best brands, environment, and experience to customers across the country."

The Frenchgate Centre, originally opened as the Arndale Centre in 1968, houses major brands including Next, H&M, and TK Maxx. It is strategically connected to Doncaster's main railway and bus stations, making it a key hub for the city.

Frasers Group plans to capitalise on this investment by more than tripling the size of its existing Sports Direct store to over 35,000 square feet. The company also intends to introduce additional brands from its portfolio, such as USC, Game, and Evans Cycles, into the centre.

Jim Carley, Vice President of Doncaster Chamber, hailed the acquisition as "tremendous" news for the city. He added, "It's very, very positive. It's always great to have new investment into Doncaster and hopefully it'll create a lot of opportunity for the city centre, in terms of the potential for increases in unit occupancy at the Frenchgate as well as visitor footfall."

The deal comes at a crucial time for UK high streets, which continue to face challenges from online shopping and the aftermath of the pandemic. However, Frasers Group's investment demonstrates confidence in the future of physical retail spaces.

As part of the Frenchgate estate, the Grade II-listed Grand Theatre, which has stood derelict for 30 years, is set to be sold at auction this month. This development, coupled with Frasers Group's acquisition, could mark the beginning of a significant regeneration period for Doncaster's city centre.

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