Bournemouth’s oldest department store closes

Fraser’s House, Old Christchurch Road

BOURNEMOUTH’s oldest department store closed for the last time this afternoon.

Shoppers flocked to House of Fraser on Old Christchurch Road for the very last time as the store closed for good on Saturday March 12.

Picking up a few last bargains before the doors closed for good, shoppers couldn’t hide their disappointment that another retail giant was leaving town.

House of Fraser is the third store to close on Bournemouth’s high street so far this year, following Wilko and New Look.

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The store, which first opened in 1873, was the last remaining department store in the town after Beales closed in 2020, followed by Debenhams last year.

Andrew Brown, 57, described the closure as a sign the town center was “decaying” and said there were “no more shops for men”.

Bournemouth Echo: Andrew Brown was disappointed the department store was closing.

Bournemouth Echo: Andrew Brown was disappointed the department store was closing.

Andrew Brown was disappointed with the closing of the department store.

He added: “All the nice stores – I’m a big store fan – Beales, Debenhams, House of Fraser are all gone and it’s sad.

“There are hardly any stores selling menswear anymore, Beales was very good and so was this store which means I now have to go to Southampton.

“Generally [the town centre] has a sense of decay, which you would see in dreary northern towns.

Claire Cooper, 38, was shopping in the store on the last day. She requested that another retail unit or entertainment venue take her place.

“It’s really a shame”

She said: “I think it’s such a shame, the house of Fraser and Beales will be really missed – now we don’t have a department store.

Bournemouth Echo: House of Fraser has closed.

Bournemouth Echo: House of Fraser has closed.

House of Fraser has closed.

“Downtown was knocked down – the other end was a bit shabby and now they’ve done it again, but that bit [of town] here now must be developed and something must be done with these buildings.

“Would like to see more shopping in its place as well as entertainment – seems a shame it doesn’t have any boutique brands otherwise there isn’t a lot of interesting shopping in Bournemouth.”

Marcus Gainlall, who was shopping in the store on the last day, said: ‘It would be nice to see a John Lewis in his place with a bit of variety – something with clothes and a home section.’

Bournemouth Echo: Marcus Gainlall bought trainers and a top in store on the last day.

Bournemouth Echo: Marcus Gainlall bought trainers and a top in store on the last day.

Marcus Gainlall bought sneakers and a top in store on the last day.

Trafford Bloor, 21, said it was “disappointing to see the store go” because of the unit’s size and history.

Andrew Christopher, from Bournemouth, said: ‘It’s sad to see and very bad for the town centre.

“We really need more stores and regeneration as soon as possible.”

Following news of the store closures, Cllr Phil Broadhead, BCP Council Deputy Leader and Member for Growth and Regeneration, said: “We are seeing the face of our high streets changing faster than ever.

‘As I understand it, the new owners of the House of Fraser building have come up with new plans which have resulted in House of Fraser being shut down on the site.

He cited the replacement of Debenham’s by the new Bobby & Co as evidence that “changes like these aren’t always bad”.