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House of Fraser bought by Mike Ashley's Sports Direct

11 August, 2018, 10:22 | Author: Tommie Newton
  • Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley bought the House of Fraser department store chain after it went into administration. EPA

Mid-market retailers like House of Fraser have been hit particularly hard, with rivals Debenhams Plc and Marks & Spencer Group Plc shrinking store space as their online businesses have been slow to take off.

Notices placed on the doors of the Belfast department store said it would open later than usual at 11am on Friday after the chain entered administration.

Administrators were appointed to the historic retailer this morning.

House of Fraser, meanwhile, assured that its offices and stores will continue operating while they attempt to reach a deal.

Scott Lennon, Unite regional officer with responsibility for Sports Direct, said: "Sports Direct is a leopard that has not changed its spots and we hope that its poor record on pay and employment practices are not transferred to the House of Fraser".

When it did open, a customer who tried to use a £100 gift voucher at the store said she had it declined.

However, the chain announced earlier today that it was calling in the administrators in a further bid to try and save the company.

Alan Hudson of EY, joint administrator, said: "We have worked very closely with management, its advisors and creditors in recent weeks and are pleased that we have been able to successfully conclude a sale of the business in short timescales which preserves as numerous jobs of House of Frasers employees as possible".

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Alex Williamson, chief executive of House of Fraser, said: "An acquisition of the 169-year-old retail business will see House of Fraser regain stability, certainty and financial strength".

The company had pushed through a rescue deal called a CVA, or company voluntary arrangement, that involved shutting 31 of its 59 stores in order to salvage the rest of the business.

House of Fraser was plunged into crisis last week after C.banner, the Chinese owner of Hamleys, pulled its investment in the troubled retail chain.

Mr Ashley was one of at least four parties squaring off to rescue House of Fraser after China's C.banner International Holdings Ltd shelved plans to buy a majority stake.

But it had the benefit of giving those workers six months to try and find new jobs.

House of Fraser's £175 million of floating-rate notes due September 2020 were quoted at a bid price of 20 pence on the pound, according to BNP Paribas prices on Bloomberg.

For the year ended 28 January 2017, the House of Fraser group had gross assets of £946.3m and made £14.7m net profit.

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