What went wrong at the House of Fraser?

What went wrong at the House of Fraser?

Earlier on in the year we wrote about the High Street Crisis and looked at 6 casualties in our blog:


Now we can add another casualty The House of Fraser – or will it survive under new owner Mike Ashley?

This BBC article asks “what went wrong?”

Remember when reading an article you are looking to identify and show off your business knowledge by annotating it with terms from your specification.

Here’s a few you might look for, depending on which board you are studying:

Managing change, resistance to change, new leadership, USP, brand recognition, strategic drift, planned change, emergent change, diseconomies of scale, PESTLE factors, inorganic growth.

Read the article “House of Fraser: Five things that went wrong”


Consider your business theorists. If you have your theory postcards now would be a good time to get them out. Challenge: how many theorists you can link to this article?

Apply Porter’s Generic Strategy and Porter’s Five Forces.

Consider whether each of the 5 factors are internal, external or both. Think evaluatively about how significant each factor is. Draw the table below onto A5 paper and complete.

Factor Ranking 1 – 5 Application points Analysis points Justification of ranking
1 The internet  


2 No USP  


3 Too many stores  


4 Management and ownership
5 No white knight




You have done the planning; now let’s consider an exam style question. This is how you should tackle the case studies in the exams for the big mark questions.

To what extent were internal factors the main cause of the failure of the House of Fraser? Justify your answer.

Looking ahead this is a great story to follow.

If you were to change the fortunes of House of Fraser what strategy would you propose?

Read the article “Mike Ashley vows to keep most House of Fraser stores open”


What strategy is he proposing?

What would Ansoff say?

What would Porter say?

(AQA: What would Bowman say?)

Place on the spectrum below your thoughts on the future success of the House of Fraser over the next 9 months




Each student should write their name on a sticky note and place it on the spectrum which could be displayed on the board with the article, rankings etc.

Students should be asked to justify where they place their names on the spectrum.

As the story unfolds students can move their position on the spectrum as long as they can justify it. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate!

Theory postcards for AQA (just £3.00)


Theory postcards for Edexcel (just £3.00)


Theory postcards for WJEC/Eduqas (just £3.00)




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