House of Fraser has become one of the first major UK retailers to take advantage of reform coming to the English water market, by switching water supplier at three of its key city centre stores.
Business Stream, the largest provider in the world’s first competitive water market, has agreed a two-year deal with the chain, covering its flagship Oxford Street store in London, as well as its stores in Birmingham and Manchester.
As part of the partnership approach to House of Fraser’s water management strategy, Business Stream will also install automated meter readers (AMRs) into 10 stores across their 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 bold sustainability strategy which integrates sustainable development within the company’s strategic planning process.
Jo Dow, CEO, 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.”
In England, only sites which consume more than five million litres of water annually 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 is 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.
Scotland’s non-domestic retail market, which covers all premises across private and public sector organisations, opened to competition in April 2008, and Business Stream customers have since saved more than £100 million on their water bills.
Jo 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.”
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.”