Registration number: 7136
Company name: Fraser Sons & Co Ltd
Dates in business: 1909-1947
Company name: Fraser's
Dates in business: 1849 to date
Type of business: drapers
Type of company: Private limited liability companyLocations:
On 26 May 1909, Fraser, Sons & Co was registered as a private limited liability company, becoming Fraser, Sons & Co Ltd. Its registered office was at 12 Buchanan Street. The new company took over the business but not the Buchanan Street warehouse which remained the personal property of the three brothers, Hugh, James Arthur and John Fraser. The new company saw the introduction of the now famous stag’s head emblem which was to represent the Fraser name for nearly eighty years. In 1923, Hugh Fraser junior wanted to extend the warehouse by buying adjoining property. His uncle, John, a non-executive director, vetoed the proposal. Hugh therefore turned his attention to the interior. In 1924, he enlarged the tearoom, installed a restaurant, overhauled the gown department and appointed a new blouse and jumper buyer. He also rebuilt the interiors of the Buchanan Street windows and installed electric lighting. In 1927, he enlarged the Small Ladies Department. In 1929, following his purchase of John Fraser's share in the business, Hugh built an arcade on the Buchanan Street frontage. He followed this, in 1930, with a similar arcade in Argyle Street.
In 1931, Hugh began planning to modernise the store and to lease the upper four floors of Montague Burton's men's outfitters shop which adjoined the family warehouse on the corner of Buchanan Street and Argyle Street. The first three floors were to contain additions to the fashion departments, and the top floor a restaurant and smoking room. The extension was officially opened by the Lord Provost, Sir Thomas Kelly, in November 1931. This was followed by a concerted advertising campaign in the local press.
1932 witnessed the start of a lean time for the company. At the beginning of the year, turnover collapsed, and Hugh only maintained the business by extending the amount of credit he offered his customers. He sought ways of increasing trade, however, and reorganised the household sections in autumn 1932 to take advantage of the rise in demand for furnishings. This was so successful that the sections were brought together, in May 1933, into a much enlarged single department on the third floor. In the same year, he added an inexpensive millinery section.
In 1936, the company embarked on a series of acquisitions. In May, it purchased Arnott & Co Ltd, drapers, of Argyle Street, Glasgow, followed, in September, by its neighbour, Robert Simpson & Sons Ltd, drapers, of Jamaica Street, which it merged with Arnotts to help improve trade. In November, it purchased property adjoining the Buchanan Street front of Frasers, to make room for an extension, and, in December, it acquired the drapery business of Thomas Muirhead & Co (Glasgow) Ltd. It also created two new companies: in July, it had created Frasers (Glasgow) Bank Ltd to handle the company's finances, and in February 1937, it created Fraser Estates Ltd to act as estate agents and factors for the company's properties. Further acquisitions followed. In about 1939, it acquired Betty Beresford Ltd, drapers, of Glasgow, followed, in 1940, by Kings Fashions Ltd, drapers, of Glasgow, and Peter Allan Ltd, drapers, of Edinburgh and, in 1941, Gordon and Stanfield, drapers, of Perth, Muir Simpsons, Ltd, house furnishers, of Glasgow, and Alexander Ewing & Co Ltd, drapers, of Dundee.
In November 1941, with so many businesses now under his control, Hugh Fraser decided to form a new company, House of Fraser Ltd, as a vehicle for future acquisitions. This new company did not, however, commence business until 1946. In the meantime, Fraser Sons & Co Ltd continued to make new acquisitions. Dallas's Ltd of Glasgow and its sister enterprise, Dallas's Colosseum Ltd, were acquired in November 1942, D & A Prentice (Greenock) Ltd and Logie & Co Ltd of Stirling were acquired in 1945 and McLachlan and Brown Ltd of Stirling, D A Wallace & Co Ltd of Perth and William Small & Sons Ltd of Edinburgh were acquired in 1946. In 1947, Fraser Sons & Co Ltd was liquidated and its assets transferred to House of Fraser Ltd.
Records held for Fraser Sons & Co Ltd:
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