The end of an era.

The House of Fraser, formerly ‘Army & Navy’ and `Harveys of Guildford’, will close in September.

A shocked staff member told the Waverley Web she received her redundancy notice two days ago, though many had been waiting for something to happen.

The signs were going up as shoppers shopped in what some describe now as “a dying High Street.’ 

Said our informant:

Seeing so many familiar faces leaving Guildford is so sad. To let and closing down signs are now a regular occurrence. Some have been trading in the High Street for more than a hundred years.

It’s been difficult for High Street stores in Guildford in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, which even before 2020 was struggling. Several major brands and chains that were the town centre’s mainstay are no longer there. Whether their company has suffered financial issues or opportunities, have arisen elsewhere.

Many chains that have left have been part of the high street for a long time, while some only lasted for months. While the future of some sites looks clear, many remain vacant to customers.

The House of Fraser website makes no mention of the closure. However,  signs that the store was in trouble for some years as retail patterns have changed with the continuing challenge of online selling.

The household name shopping chain entered administration in August 2018. Mike Ashley, who owned Sports Direct, agreed to buy all House of Fraser’s UK stores, the House of Fraser brand, and all of the stock in the business for just £90 million in cash. House of Fraser has almost halved in size from 59 stores to 31 since.

The Guardian reported last week that the owner of House of Fraser had said it could close more stores after shutting eight in the past year, saying…

“the department store globally is broken”.


 The store includes the Jellicoe Heritage Roof Garden, a water garden designed and installed by the late Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1958. It has a grade II listing from English Heritage. It hasn’t been open to the public for many years due to health and safety issues; however, in its heyday, it was THE place to eat, drink and be merry.


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