House of Fraser store closures: everything we know so far

Thursday, 7th June 2018, 13:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 15:34 pm

Department store chain House of Fraser has announced that 31 stores are set to close in 2019 across the UK, putting up to 6,000 jobs under threat.

The retailer, which was founded in Glasgow in in 1849, stills need the approval of 75 per cent of its creditors before the planned closures can go ahead, with the final decision due to be made on Friday 22 June.

Here's everything we know so far.

Why has House of Fraser taken this decision?

The retailer said the planned closures come as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), an insolvency procedure which is common among struggling retailers.

The company's chief executive Alex Williamson said the business has been impacted by mounting pressures facing the UK high street, including costly legacy leases which were originally negotiated a number of years ago, along with competition posed by online retailers.

Williamson said the decision to close some of its stores is necessary to ensure the survival of the brand and secure its future.

House of Fraser chairman Frank Slevin added that the retail industry was undergoing "fundamental change", and the company "urgently needs to adapt".

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

What's a CVA?

A CVA (Company Voluntary Agreement) is an insolvency procedure which allows a company to reach a voluntary agreement with its business creditors to repay a proportion of its debts back over a period of time.

Seventy-five per cent of House of Fraser's creditors need to give their approval to the plan before it can go ahead.

The Accountancy firm KPMG is overseeing the insolvency process.

How will staff be affected?

If the CVA is approved, up to 2,000 House of Fraser employees and a further 4,000 across brands and concessions will be affected.

The company has said staff who are set to be impacted by the plans have already been informed and they are committed to "working with all those affected openly and with sensitivity over the months ahead.

Which stores are closing?

The following House of Fraser stores are set for closure:

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

What's going on with famous high street brands right now?

House of Fraser is just the latest in a string of retail brands, including New Look, Mothercare and Marks and Spencer, to announce store closures this year, having been hit by mounting pressures facing the UK high street.

Mothercare is to close numerous UK stores

Brands have been struggling with a series of issues including surging costs, rising business rates, pricey legacy leases, competition from online rivals and a slowdown in consumer spending.

A number of restaurant business have also been cutting their costs and announcing their own closure programmes, with Carluccio's, Byron and Prezzo all pushing through CVAs this year.

What's been the reaction to the news from shoppers?

Shoppers outside the flagship London Oxford Street stores expressed their surprise at the closure plans this morning, while many store-goers have taken to Twitter in reaction to the news.

Amy Hartman (@Amyyh18) wrote: "Toys R Us, H&M, New Look and now House Of Fraser. Actually so sad to think in 10 years time there'll be no actual stores left. Everything will be online. There's something special about walking into stores & getting what you want instantly. Our kids won't get to experience that!"

While @gnarlybole commented: "Slightly shocked (although not altogether surprised) to see that House of Fraser are planning to close some of their major stores. Especially Oxford Street, Edinburgh and Birmingham (formerly Rackhams)."