Fur from wild-trapped coyote has been used in HoF products © Getty Images/500px
Fur from wild-trapped coyote has been used in HoF products © Getty Images/500px

House of Fraser attacked for selling fur products

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
21 November 2019

House of Fraser (HoF) has been attacked as a “house of horrors” by a charity for stocking products made with real fur.

Humane Society International/UK (HSI/UK) said the department store had ditched a “long-held fur-free policy” and was selling jackets made by Parajumpers, Pyrenex and Mackage using fur from wild-trapped coyote and factory-farmed rabbit and raccoon dog.

HSI/UK said HoF banned all fur more than a decade ago but the company had confirmed it changed its fur policy in October 2019 following the company’s takeover by Sports Direct. It said pages covering its sustainability policy on the HoF website had been taken down.

The charity, which said rabbit, raccoon dog and fox had been sourced from China and Finland, has written to Sports Direct CEO Mike Ashley “to register its deep alarm at finding real animal fur for sale and asking for an urgent meeting”.

In the latest annual report Sports Direct said it bought House of Fraser out of administration for £90m but “as we have continued to look under the bonnet as we integrate the business, we have found that the problems are nothing short of terminal in nature”. It referred to “serious under investment in stores and appropriate support services, excessive and unsustainable outsourcing and financing”.

The firm reported a £54.6m operating loss at House of Fraser on revenues of £330.6m in the year to April 2019.

Claire Bass, executive director at HSI/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.

“But it’s a short-sighted and misguided strategy because against the backdrop of an ever-growing list of top designers dropping fur, House of Fraser’s decision to throw away its moral compass is painfully out of touch with the anti-fur zeitgeist.

“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 said the value of fur imported into the UK in 2016 was £55.6m.

Sports Direct has been approached for comment.

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