HOPES for the jobs of employees at Worcester’s House of Fraser have been boosted after yesterday’s news of a £90million takeover which could see the department store stay open.

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has agreed to buy the ailing department store chain.

Sources have said that Mr Ashley will now begin the process of turning some House of Fraser stores into Sports Direct outlets and rebrand others under the Flannels fascia, while others will remain under the House of Fraser brand.

Two months ago, the company announced that the Worcester store in Crowngate was to close in 2019 with the loss of 149 jobs.

On Friday morning, House of Fraser went into administration after talks between the retailer and its creditors failed to reach an agreement.

But later that day came the announcement of Sports Direct’s acquisition of the business.

Styling the chain as “one of the UK’s premium fashion, home and beauty retailers”, a statement from Sports Direct said: “The group has acquired all of the UK stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the associated stock. The business was purchased out of administration for a cash consideration of £90million.”

Mr Ashley said: “This is a massive step forward and further enhances our strategy of elevation across the group.

“This will benefit both House of Fraser and Flannels in the luxury sector.

“We will do our best to keep as many stores open as possible. It is vital that we restore the right level of ongoing relationships with the luxury brands. Our deal was conservative, consistent and simple. My ambition is to transform House of Fraser into the Harrods of the High Street.”

All of its 59 shops were set to open as usual today, including the 31 that have already been marked for closure, one of which is Worcester. Mr Ashley already owned 11 per cent of the company.

House of Fraser - which began trading 169 years ago - employs 17,500 people.

Mr Ashley overcame competition from retail rival Philip Day, the billionaire owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, to buy House of Fraser.

It is understood that Mr Day’s proposal was in excess of £100million and would have avoided the firm going into administration.