House of Fraser department stores will be closing in 2020, Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has warned.
Mr Ashley – whose business bought the department stores a year ago – said that while some stores were not paying rent they were still “unsustainable”.
“We are doing as much as we can to realistically save as many jobs and stores as possible,” said Mr Ashley.
Shares in Sports Direct jumped 19% after it reported a rise pre-tax half year profits to £193.4m.
The retailer also reiterated that a €674m (£605m) bill from Belgium’s tax authority would not lead to “material liabilities” and said it would find a resolution soon.
Mr Ashley used the results statement for the six months to 27 September to set out a number of reasons for the problems at House of Fraser, including “serious under-investment” in stores and appropriate support services.
Mr Ashley said: “We are continuing to review the longer-term portfolio and would expect the number of retained stores to continue to reduce in the next 12 months”.