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House of Fraser appoints Rothschild to advise on refinancing of debt

Lauretta Roberts
12 February 2018

Department store House of Fraser has appointed Rothschild to advise it on a refinancing of its debt package.

The business, which is owned by China's Sanpower, has a total debt package of £390m with £225m due to mature in July 2019, which it is seeking to refinance. The remaining £165m in publicly traded bonds matures in 2020, according to a report in The Telegraph.

Rothschild's appointment comes after House of Fraser reported on tough festive season trading. Last month it revealed that store sales were down -2.9% in the six weeks to 23 December and digital sales were also down -7.5%. House of Fraser had implemented new e-commerce technology in 2017, which it had previously said was disruptive and had negatively affected sales while it was bedded in.

Just before Christmas credit rating agency Moody's branded the retailer a "very high credit risk" and downgraded it from B3 to Caal risk rating.

In spring last year the business appointed Alex Williamson as CEO. Williamson, formerly of sporting venue Goodwood, was brought it to execute a turnaround plan that places experience at the heart of House of Fraser stores. In the autumn it brought in Paddy Earnshaw as chief marketing officer; Earnshaw had previously been chief customer officer at Doddle.

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