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House of Fraser enters administration

Embattled department store House of Fraser is to appoint administrators, after talks with investors failed to reach a deal to save the business.

In a statement, the business said that rescue talks with investors and creditors had “not concluded in a solvent solution”.

Bids from Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group owner Philip Day and turnaround specialist Alteri Investors were rumoured to be being considered by House of Fraser.

House of Fraser said administrator EY confirmed the business would continue trading while it attempted to complete a sale. 

Despite the administration, all 59 shops are set to open today, including the 31 earmarked to close as part of the earlier company voluntary arrangement (CVA) deal. House of Fraser employs 17,500 people. 

Earlier this month Chinese retail group C Banner called off its plans to invest £70m in House of Fraser.

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.

“In the two weeks since the Cenbest and C Banner transaction ceased, the directors have brought forward a number of potential buyers and the Group’s financial advissrs have run a comprehensive M&A process to identify and then develop other third-party interest that has culminated in the senior secured creditors leading negotiations with parties at a critical pace.”

Frank Slevin, chairman of House of Fraser, said: “This has been an extraordinarily challenging six months in which the business has delivered so many critical elements of the turnaround plan. Despite the very recent termination of the transaction between Cenbest and C Banner, I am confident House of Fraser is close to securing its future.”

Readers' comments (6)

  • Now watch the vultures swoop in on the carcass. My money is on Philip Day! This is very bad news for our industry and for the employees of HOF.

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  • This smells of a “force into administration and buy it cheap strategy” Messrs Day and Ashley!!
    It’s all the employees you feel sorry for and the stress and anxiety this creates. This was inevitably when they appointed someone with zero retail experience to lead the business as CEO during a critical time of change - Retail is one of the most challenging career choices and should be left to those with experience as retailers.

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  • The so-called saviours weren’t really interested to save HOF. They simply wanted to closely scrutinise the books to see what’s worth having when they go into administration.

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  • It’s incredibly sad for all the staff - who should be pro actively trying to find new opportunities & not wait for the axe to fall.
    However having just walked JLP & HOF in Westfield it’s hard to justify why you need both in this congested space - especially when JLP are doing ( on the whole) a much better job!
    There was a time when the reverse was true but JLP having been having HOF’s ‘Lunch’ for some time. Shame on those that allowed it to happen.

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  • This is truly a tragic commercial day.
    The domino effect will be massive.
    Jaeger Austin Reed and now this. Debenhams next. Who then?
    Don’t blame online. Blame a lumbering giant. No staff no feel good no special experience. A self fulfilling prophecy.
    If it’s sad now wait until the vultures arrive pleading poverty to save jobs.

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  • darren hoggett

    Dreadful business that deserves no sympathy, except for the staff of which some will lose their jobs when Ashley get his paws on the lot.

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