Mike Ashley has given a rare interview in which he appears to pledge to keep open more than 45 House of Fraser stores.

In the deal announced on Friday his Sports Direct chain bought all 59 House of Fraser stores - 31 of which were to have closed under a previous restructuring plan.

He told The Sun he would try to keep 80% of the stores open. “In a year’s time you can hold my feet to the fire on that.”

This might suggest that the flagship store on Oxford Street could be granted a reprieve if the landlords can be convinced.