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Department Stores

House of Fraser CVA prompts closures amid 51% sale

House of Fraser has confirmed the sale of a 51% stake in its group, which may lead to the closure of some of its stores.

Chinese retailer C.Banner has acquired the existing shares from current owner Nanjing Xinjiekou, giving it majority control. Nanjing will retain its minority stake.

The value of the shares has not been confirmed but the deal is expected to be completed by the end of June.

C.Banner is a footwear manufacturer and is the owner of UK toy store Hamleys.

House of Fraser is also preparing to enter a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA), which will see some of its outlets closed. It is unknown how many will be affected, but closures are expected to take place early next year.

The department store chain appointed advisors KPMG in April to advise on a structuring plan following poor sales figures over the Christmas period.

House of Fraser’s chairman Frank Slevin said: “There is a need to create a leaner business that better serves the rapidly changing behaviours of a customer base which increasingly shops channel agnostically. House of Fraser’s future will depend on creating the right portfolio of stores that are the right size and in the right location.

“C.Banner’s investment is a vote of confidence in our prospects. We also know that if we are to deliver a sustainable, long-term business then we need to make difficult decisions about our underperforming legacy stores. I am all too aware that this creates uncertainty for my colleagues in the business and so we will be transparent with them throughout the process.”

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