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Funding plea by chain

House of Fraser in search for lifeline finance

House of Fraser

The building in Princes Street, Edinburgh is on the market

House of Fraser, the department store chain and owner of Jenners, is seeking a £40 million lifeline as it battles tough trading conditions.

The 59 stores chain suffered poor trading over Christmas with stores sales down -2.9% and online sales down -7.5%.

City sources say it has approached turnaround firms such as Alteri Investors, which is backed by the US hedge fund Apollo Global Management.

House of Fraser, which was founded in Glasgow in 1849, is now 51% owned by Chinese tourism group Wuji Wenhua.

A group of current lenders that is believed to include HSBC and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are believed to have asked EY to advise on the group’s weakening financial position.

House of Fraser has hundreds of millions of pounds of debt and has recently called for a review of rents.

The company was acquired by Sanpower-owned group Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store in 2014.

Lenders are becoming nervous about funding retailers following a spate of failures and downturns among national chains including Maplin, Toys R Us and New Look.

The building which houses the House of Fraser store in Princes Street, Edinburgh is on the market with an option to turn it into a hotel.


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