House of Fraser's website is down as administration rumours swirl

House of Fraser's website is down as administration rumours swirl

But House of Fraser said parts of the department store could still be rescued, most likely through a pre-pack administration process, where a new buyer cherry picks the best assets.

House of Fraser employs about 6,000 people directly and 11,500 concession staff.

The intervention follows an announcement by House of Fraser that it had been forced to appoint administrators after talks with potential investors collapsed.

A statement released on behalf of House of Fraser before the deal was struck said: "House of Fraser announces that its discussions with interested investors and its main secured creditors have not concluded in a solvent solution".

"Pursuant to the transaction, the group has acquired all of the United Kingdom stores of House of Fraser, the House of Fraser brand and all of the stock in the business".

The announcement came just two hours after the formal court hearing to put House of Fraser into administration.

Sports Direct now owns all House of Fraser assets including its brand, stores and stock.

The retailer has one store in Dublin and one in Belfast, though neither were in the cohort of outlets marked for closure under the rescue plan.

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Yet many of House of Fraser's creditors objected to the plan.

If there is a more hopeless business to be in than department stores, it is hard to think of it.

House of Fraser chief executive Alex Williamson had this morning spoken of his confidence that the company's future would be secured in short order, saying "an acquisition of the 169-year-old retail business will see House of Fraser regain stability, certainty and financial strength".

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.

The CVA, which as well as 31 store closures included rent reductions at 10 further locations, was agreed in June, but was subsequently challenged by a cohort of landlords - although this challenge was soon settled by HoF, the dispute was cited by C.banner as a reason for backing away, with the group cancelling a share placing that might have funded the deal.

"Despite the very recent termination of the transaction between Cenbest and C.Banner, I am confident House of Fraser is close to securing its future".

In the same breath, he said: "My ambition is to transform House of Fraser into the Harrods of the high street".

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