THE fate of thousands of staff members hangs in the balance as House of Fraser is dealt a fresh blow.
Here’s the latest on store closures and whether the high street stalwart is going into administration.
Is House of Fraser closing?
House of Fraser confirmed in early August 2018 that 31 of its 59 stores would be closing in January 2019.
This would lead to 6,000 job losses — 2,000 House of Fraser staff and 4,000 across brands and concessions.
But now the jobs of all 17,500 staff members are at risk after plans to restructure the company failed.
The department store chain had proposed a so-called Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), which a number of other British retailers have adopted in recent years.
The business will continue to trade while they seek to find a buyer.
Alex Williamson, chief executive of House of Fraser, said: “We are hopeful that the current negotiations will shortly be concluded.
“An acquisition of the 169-year-old retail business will see House of Fraser regain stability, certainty and financial strength.”
What’s the latest share price?
House of Fraser is no longer listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In May this year figures revealed the warehouse had lost £43.9m in 2017.
Is it going into administration?
House of Fraser called in administrators after last-ditch talks with investors and creditors failed.
Sky News reported on August 10 that administrators were being brought in after talks with three potential backers failed to find a solution.
In a statement to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, where the company’s bonds are listed, HoF said it the administrator Ernst & Young would continue those talks and a sale of the retailer’s business and assets.
Who owns House of Fraser?
House of Fraser is currently 89 per cent owned by Chinese firm Nanjing Cenbest, part of the Sanpower conglomerate.
English billionaire Mike Ashley owns a minority stake in the chain.
Chinese company C.banner had agreed to buy a 51 per cent stake in a deal expected to be done by the end of June.
That rescue deal would have involved axing 31 of its 59 stores, with the loss of 6,000 workers.
But C.Banner was forced to abandon the plan after a slump in its share price, in a fresh setback for House of Fraser.
In a statement, the Chinese firm admitted their plan had “been rendered impracticable and inadvisable, and therefore no longer intend to proceed with the placing.”
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The firm has taken similar measures to those of struggling firms New Look and Carpetright.
Department stores including Debenhams are suffering in the competition against online retailers.
The department store’s chairman, Frank Slevin, said there had been progress on a shake-up of the business but more needed to be done “to confront the seismic shifts in the retail industry”.
“House of Fraser’s future will depend on creating the right portfolio of stores that are the right size and in the right location.”
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