UK retailer House of Fraser set to appoint administrators as High Street casualties mount

House of Fraser's possible demise follows the collapse this year of Toys R Us UK, electricals group Maplin, drinks wholesaler Conviviality and discount retailer Poundworld.
House of Fraser's possible demise follows the collapse this year of Toys R Us UK, electricals group Maplin, drinks wholesaler Conviviality and discount retailer Poundworld.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - British department store retailer House of Fraser will seek the appointment of administrators on Friday (Aug 10) after negotiations with its investors and creditors failed to conclude in a "solvent solution", the BBC reported.

The move into administration, a form of creditor protection, puts up to 17,000 jobs at risk and means the group, whose history stretches back to 1849, could join a growing line of UK retail casualties.

A string of British store groups have either gone out of business or announced plans to close shops this year as they struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs, higher business property taxes and growing online competition.

House of Fraser's possible demise follows the collapse this year of Toys R Us UK, electricals group Maplin, drinks wholesaler Conviviality and discount retailer Poundworld.

House of Fraser said in June it needed to shut 31 of its 59 stores and make up to 6,000 people redundant to survive, but that rescue programme was thrown into doubt after Chinese group C.banner pulled out of a plan to inject fresh equity.

The retailer's current owners are Nanjing Cenbest, part of China's Sanpower Group, which paid £480 million (S$841.1 million) for an 89 per cent stake in 2014, while Mike Ashley's Sports Direct owns 11 per cent.