House of Fraser to close stores under new rescue plan

Department store House of Fraser plans to close stores under a restructuring plan put in place by its new owners.

As China’s C.banner, which also owns Hamleys, takes a majority stake (51%), shifting control from another Chinese firm, Nanjing Cenbest, House of Fraser intends to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), under which it is likely to close some stores and renegotiate rents on others.

The department store is yet to confirm how many of its 59 stores will close.

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House of Fraser chairman, Frank Slevin, announced: There is a need to create a leaner business that better serves the rapidly changing behaviours of a customer base.

“House of Fraser’s future will depend on creating the right portfolio of stores that are the right size and in the right location.”

The C.banner deal is set to complete by the end of June and it is hoped that a sale of new shares will raise £70m – with a significant sum to be invested in remaining stores.

The chain expects to make a formal CVA proposal next month, with a full restructuring in place by early 2019.

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