House of Fraser is a British premium department store group with over 60 stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was established in Glasgow, Scotland in 1849 as Arthur and Fraser. Although established in Glasgow House of Fraser's largest store is located in Birmingham. By 1891 it was known as Fraser & Sons. The company grew steadily during the early 20th century, but after the Second World War, a large number of acquisitions would transform the company into a national chain. Between 1936 and 1985 over seventy companies, not including their subsidiaries, were acquired. In 1948, the company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange, and eventually was included in the FTSE 100 Index before the company was acquired by Icelandic investor Baugur in 2006.
The company's acquisitions have included numerous household names, some of which are no longer used as part of the company's long-term strategy of re-branding its stores under the House of Fraser name. Over the years House of Fraser has purchased a number of famous stores, such as Army & Navy, Beatties, Dickins & Jones, Jenners, Howells, Kendals, Rackhams, Binns and Harrods of Knightsbridge (which is now owned privately). D H Evans' Oxford Street store in London was rebranded as House of Fraser in 2001 and became the chain's flagship store.
The group has been subject to many attempted takeovers by other companies, such as Boots and Lonrho, but it was the acquisition by Baugur in 2006 that brought the ownership of House of Fraser to the public's attention, and the resulting changes in its ownership, including shareholding by Lloyds Banking Group.
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