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Department StoresHigh Street

House of Fraser site offline as administration threatens 17,500 jobs

House of Fraser has appointed administrators after talks with investors and creditors were “not concluded in a solvent solution”.

The department store currently employs 17,500 people across its 59 stores of which 31 have already been earmarked for closure. Despite the administration all House of Fraser stores are expected to open for business today.

Ernst & Young, which has been appointed administrators, said company would continue to trade, including all stores and offices while they attempted to sell the business. A HoF statement read: “Significant progress has been made towards completing a sale of the group’s business and assets.

“The proposed administrators are expected to continue to progress those discussions with a view to concluding a transaction shortly after their appointment.”

It is not clear what the overall trading status of the business is, as Retail Sector found that House of Fraser’s website went down at around 9.10am this morning following the announcement, with the message: “Don’t worry, we will be back up and running as soon as possible.”

This week has been a turbulent one for the stalwart retail chain as it scrambled to avert collapse. It was thought that C.banner’s withdrawal from investment had sealed the company’s fate last week, but this week three more potential buyers emerged, including Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, retail tycoon Philip Day, and a retail turnaround fund was put forward by Alteri Investors.

On Monday House of Fraser announced it had settled a legal row with landlords meaning it could proceed with plans announced to close 31 of its 59 stores, raising the possibility of a clearer legal position upon which to take on new investment.

But yesterday, when no investor-rescue was forthcoming, the firm said in a statement to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, that it would extend the deadline for investment to no later than 20 August.

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