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Is my House of Fraser store closing down? Full list of 31 branches set to shut under huge restructuring plans - and when

Mirror logo Mirror 07/06/2018 Emma Munbodh
a group of people walking in front of a store © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

The future of House of Fraser has been made official this morning with plans to shut 31 branches.

It comes after bosses warned of 'underperforming' stores last month and announced plans to sell a significant stake to Hamleys boss C.banner.

The business has been in rescue talks for more than a month, however on Thursday, it put forward a company voluntary agreement (CVA) to restructure the high street chain.

A statement said the chain has "no viable future" without the agreement which would allow the business to continue trading whilst paying off debts and reducing overheads.

It's understood the CVA was one of Chinese conglomerate C.banner's conditions for the sale to go ahead - which will inject millions into the struggling department store.

a red double decker bus on the street with Hamleys in the background: Hamleys Toy Store © Credits: Getty Hamleys Toy Store

House of Fraser bosses said: "These proposals are central to the significant restructuring of the business, without which House of Fraser does not have a viable future."

"The proposing of the CVAs follows the announcement made on May 2, of C.banner’s conditional agreement to acquire a 51% stake in House of Fraser Group Ltd and intention to introduce significant new capital."

Currently, House of Fraser operates 59 leased stores across the UK and Ireland. A total of 31 stores will close in 2018, reducing its network to 28 stores.

Its Baker Street head office and the Granite House office in Glasgow will also be relocated to "help to reduce costs".

The company also said it's held "constructive" initial discussions with landlords and other key stakeholders to reduce rents, which is often the case during CVA agreements.

Will staff be affected?

a group of people walking in front of a store © Credits: Bloomberg House of Fraser has confirmed that up to 2,000 workers and a further 4,000 brand and concession partners will be affected by the planned closures.

A statement said all workers impacted by the proposed changes have already been informed.

House of Fraser chairman, Frank Slevin, said: "The retail industry is undergoing fundamental change and House of Fraser urgently needs to adapt to this fast-changing landscape in order to give it a future and allow it to thrive.

"Our legacy store estate has created an unsustainable cost base, which without restructuring, presents an existential threat to the business.

"So whilst closing stores is a very difficult decision, especially given the length of relationship House of Fraser has with all its locations, there should be no doubt that it is absolutely necessary if we are to continue to trade and be competitive.

"We have had constructive dialogue with a number of key stakeholders to date, and we will continue this engagement over the next 17 days.

"Ultimately, it will be for individual creditors to decide how they will vote on the CVAs. We believe the proposal has sought to find a solution that is fair for all parties, enabling us to secure vital new capital from C.banner."

Alex Williamson, CEO of House of Fraser, added: "Today’s announcement is one of the most important in this company’s 169-year history. We, as a management team, have a responsibility to take necessary steps to ensure House of Fraser’s survival, which is why we are making these proposals.

"I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all my colleagues at House of Fraser for working tirelessly throughout this difficult period. We are fully committed to supporting those personally affected by the proposals."

Full list of 31 stores closing

The consultation on the CVA proposal will take place over the next 17 days and House of Fraser will seek approval from its creditors on June 22 2018.

In the interim, the Company will continue to trade as normal both through its stores and online.

Altrincham

Aylesbury

Birkenhead

Birmingham

Bournemouth

Camberley

Cardiff

Carlisle

Chichester

Cirencester

Cwmbran

Darlington

Doncaster

Edinburgh Frasers

Epsom

Grimsby

High Wycombe

Hull

Leamington Spa

Lincoln

London Oxford Street

London King Willam Street

Middlesbrough

Milton Keynes

Plymouth

Shrewsbury

Skipton

Swindon

Telford

Wolverhampton

Worcester

What is CVA and does it involve closures?

a group of people in a store © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

House of Fraser has proposed a CVA to allow it to restructure its network.

This is an insolvency procedure that will allow the business to continue trading while paying off debts over a contracted period of time.

It's the type of agreement that usually follows with proposed closures and rent negotiations - as was the case with Carluccio's, Prezzo and New Look.

Several more household names have pursued CVAs so far this year in a bid to save costs, including Carpetright, Byron and Mothercare.

a store inside of a building © Credits: Getty

In the case of House of Fraser, the CVA is said to be one of the big conditions put forward by Chinese conglomerate C.banner, which will acquire 51% of the business and give it a well needed cash boost.

it could allow the chain to restructure its network to reboot profits.

It's understood this could come with closures and renegotiations on rent to help revive figures.

© Credits: Science Photo Library RF

Who owns House of Fraser?

House of Fraser is currently 89% owned by Chinese firm Nanjing Cenbest, under a company called Sanpower.

English billionaire Mike Ashley also owns a minority stake in the chain.

It's expected that C.banner will buy a 51% stake of the chain from Nanjing Cenbest by the end of June.

Frank Slevin, chairman of House of Fraser, said C.banner's acquisition was "a step to securing House of Fraser's long-term future".

"C.banner's investment is a vote of confidence in our prospects," he said.

How long has House of Fraser been struggling for?

a clock hanging from the side of a building © Credits: South Wales Echo

This is not the first time House of Fraser has hinted at its struggling performance.

In December 2017, its credit rating was downgraded by credit agency Moody's after poor Christmas trading. In January 2018 it asked landlords to cut rents to recoup lost cash.

In May 2018 it then called in accountants KPMG to help come up with a restructuring plan.

The company currently employs around 6,000 staff and 11,500 concession staff.

In June, Frank Slevin, HoF's chairman, said: "We continue to have very constructive talks with our banks and other stakeholders who are positive about the plans.

"We are on track with our plans to enter the proposed CVA agreement. The funding news from C.banner is another important milestone in this complex process."

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