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House of Fraser changes water supplier for English stores

Department store House of Fraser is switching water supplier for three of its city centre outlets in England. The company, one of the first retailers to take advantage of reform coming to the water market in England, has agreed a two-year deal with Business Stream covering its flagship store in London's Oxford Street as well as stores in Birmingham and Manchester.

Business Stream chief executive Jo Dow with Frank J Slevin, executive chairman of House of FraserBusiness Stream chief executive Jo Dow with Frank J Slevin, executive chairman of House of Fraser

Business Stream will also install automated meter readers (AMRs) into ten stores across House of Fraser's English estate, following successful AMR deployment at its stores in Edinburgh and Glasgow. AMR technology automatically measures water consumption every 15 minutes, which allows spikes in use to be identified quickly, which in turn can highlight underlying problems such as leaks.

The deal builds on House of Fraser’s sustainability strategy which integrates sustainable development within the company’s strategic planning process.

Jo Dow, CEO at Business Stream, said: “This is a hugely significant milestone for market reform in England and underpins our ambitious growth plans. House of Fraser is a valued partner for us in Scotland and they were very clear on the benefits of bringing more of their water estate under one supplier, which is something we know many businesses are keen to do.

“There’s clearly an appetite from businesses across every sector to make water work more efficiently for them. House of Fraser has recognised that we can work with them to support their ambitious sustainability goals as well as deliver financial savings.”

Frank J Slevin, executive chairman at House of Fraser, said: “We are looking forward to working with Business Stream to make further improvements to how we manage our water supply across our flagship stores. Our sustainability measures are extremely important to us as a business and as a key player in the retail sector we have a responsibility to try and identify creative solutions to manage these issues.

“Business Stream’s support and expertise in water saving, recycling, auditing and leak protection will help us become even more efficient and support our wider sustainability ambitions which in turn will add value to our business.”

In England, only sites that consume more than five million litres of water a year are currently eligible to switch suppliers, but the UK Water Act 2014 will introduce competition to the non-domestic water market in England from April 2017. To date only a handful of sites in England have switched water supplier.

Business Stream has been playing a key role in the development of the English retail market, and has been an active participant in the UK government’s consultations on the subject.  

Dow said: “The experience in Scotland shows that competition delivers for customers, not just through significant reductions in water consumption, but also in pounds and pence. We would like companies based in England to be able to access those benefits too, and for that reason we’re very pleased to have agreed this contract.”

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