Struggling department store group House of Fraser has confirmed it is to close more than half of its stores, including its flagship on London’s Oxford Street, as part of a major restructuring and refinancing programme.
The business said it would close 31 of its 59 stores as part of a CVA proposal, which also includes a plan to seek rent reductions of up to 25% on 10 further stores. The plans put 6,000 jobs at risk.
Creditors of the department store are due to vote on its CVA proposal on 22 June and the deal is part of a refinancing programme that would lead to its Chinese majority owner Nanjing Cenbest (part of Sanpower) offloading a 51% to another Chinese group C.banner, which owns toy retailer Hamleys.
“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,” said its chairman Frank Slevin.
“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,” Slevin added.
The full list of stores proposed to close by early next year are:
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 William Street, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Shrewsbury, Skipton, Swindon, Telford, Wolverhampton, Worcester.
Those which will remain open are:
Gateshead Metro Centre, Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield Meadowhall, Sutton Coldfield, Bluewater, Croydon, London City, London Victoria, London Westfield, Richmond, West Thurrock Lakeside, Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Exeter, Guildford, Maidstone, Norwich, Reading The Oracle, Rushden Lakes, Edinburgh (Jenners), Glasgow, Loch Lomond Shores (Jenners), Belfast.
Its stores in Dublin Dundrum and Solihull (Beatties) are not part of the proposal since they are separate legal entities.