House of Horrors: House of Fraser reintroduces fur after Sports Direct takeover
#FurFreeBritain campaigners at Humane Society International/UK say company’s decision is short-sighted, misguided and angering customers.
Jackets made by Parajumpers, Pyrenex and Mackage using fur from wild-trapped coyote, as well as fur factory farmed rabbit and raccoon dog from China, and raccoon dog and fox from Finland, have gone on sale in store and online for the first time since House of Fraser first banned all fur over a decade ago. HSI/UK confirmed with House of Fraser that its policy changed in October 2019 following the company’s takeover by Sports Direct.
Mike Ashley is famously quoted as boasting that he would turn House of Fraser into the ‘Harrods of the High-Street’, and one way he appears to be attempting to do that is replicating Harrods’ much criticised sale of fur, despite House of Fraser recently admitting publicly that its customers don’t want fur. In response to a 2017 HSI/UK investigation which found the retailer selling real fur as faux, a House of Fraser spokeswoman told reporters: “Our customers want assurances that House of Fraser is not be complicit in such unnecessary suffering of animals and we take this issue very seriously and have communicated this to the brand in question."
Sports Direct profits have reportedly reduced by £51million since paying £90million to the administrators to bail out House of Fraser. Mike Ashley’s annual profit fell 80%, according to the latest annual accounts for Mash Holdings, through which the billionaire owns his businesses.
Claire Bass, Executive Director at Humane Society International/UK said: “Mike Ashley’s decision to overturn House of Fraser’s long-standing fur-free policy feels like the desperate actions of company trying to make a quick buck to stop rapidly spiralling profits. It’s a short-sighted and misguided strategy... By becoming one of the few retailers on the British high-street still peddling fur, Mike Ashley has turned House of Fraser into a House of Horrors."
"The reaction so far from outraged customers threatening a boycott is a PR disaster. The vast majority of shoppers want nothing to do with the cruelty of the fur trade, so it’s highly unlikely that House of Fraser’s desperate financial times will be helped by filling its shelves with fur products from rabbits, raccoon dogs and foxes who’ve suffered a life of misery on fur farms, and coyotes trapped and shot to death in the wild.”
HSI/UK also tweeted its disappointment to House of Fraser “We’re extremely disappointed that @houseoffraser has u-turned on its #furfree policy since company bought by Mike Ashley. We wrote on Friday asking for urgent meeting. Please RT to show HOF cruel fur is firmly out of fashion, & these displays in Oxford St store make shoppers”
The UK banned fur farming almost two decades ago in 2000 on ethical grounds, but since then has allowed imports of more than £820 million worth of fur from overseas, including Finland and China. These UK fur imports are a double standard that HSI UK through its #FurFreeBritain campaign is urging the government to address by introducing a ban on UK fur sales.
HSI’s petition calling for the UK government to ban UK fur sales can be signed here: www.hsi.org/FurFreeBritain