Tuesday 20 November 2018

House of Fraser rescue deal is now in doubt

House of Fraser said talks about alternative sources of investment were ongoing. Photo: PA
House of Fraser said talks about alternative sources of investment were ongoing. Photo: PA

Alistair Smout

A rescue deal for British retailer House of Fraser was thrown into doubt on Wednesday after C.banner cancelled a planned fundraising for its deal to become a majority shareholder in the department stores.

House of Fraser said talks about alternative sources of investment were ongoing, and that an update would be given when appropriate.

C.banner, an international retailer, had agreed in May to buy a 51pc stake in House of Fraser but on Wednesday cancelled a planned share placing to fund the deal and announced a profit warning. "In light of C.banner's announcement... House of Fraser is in discussions with alternative investors and is exploring options to obtain the required investment on the same timetable," the 169-year-old retailer said in a statement.

C.banner, a major retailer of mid-range to premium footwear brands in China, bought London toy shop Hamleys in 2015.

House of Fraser had agreed to close stores as part of the rescue deal, and in June creditors approved a restructuring plan which would see 31 of its 59 stores close early next year, with the loss of 6,000 jobs.

A string of UK retailers have either gone out of business or announced plans to close shops in recent months as they struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs, higher property taxes and growing online competition.

Reuters

Reuters

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