Embattled department store House of Fraser will learn the outcome of its CVA proposal tomorrow as its creditors vote on whether to accept the deal, which would result in the closure of more than half of its stores.
The retailer had faced tough negotiations and push back from landlords on its proposals and, unlike other major retail CVAs (for instance New Look and Select) that have passed through with strong majority backing, the House of Fraser deal is far from a foregone conclusion.
One creditor told City AM newspaper this afternoon that he was undecided about how to vote but he did anticipate that the proposal would go through.
Harry de Ferry Foster, director of the Charities Property Fund which owns the Chichester store, told the newspaper: “Everyone loves to kick landlords because they think they’re greedy fat cats,” he said. “But it’s our charities and pension funds that own these stores.”
Ahead of the vote the retailer set out its vision for its brand line-up moving forward saying it planned to sharpen its focus on the best selection of contemporary brands, with more exclusivity in its offer. It is believed it may also slim down its own brand offer, which includes labels such as Biba, Issa and Linea.
The business said it would also seek to introduce improvements and greater speed to its supply chain, product innovation and trend forecasting.
“Since joining House of Fraser, I have worked with the team to review our current product offering and what became crystal clear is our customers love brands. Customers now want more from their shopping experience as a business, we need to make sure we are exceeding expectations,” said chief product and trading officer David Walker-Smith who joined the business earlier this year (he had previously been managing director at Fenwick).
Under the retailer’s CVA proposal it will close its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street along with the following stores by early next year leaving it with 28 stores (compared to today’s 59):
Altrincham, Aylesbury, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Camberley, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chichester, Cirencester, Cwmbran, Darlington, Doncaster, Edinburgh Frasers, Epsom, Grimsby, High Wycombe, Hull, Leamington Spa, Lincoln, London King William Street, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Shrewsbury, Skipton, Swindon, Telford, Wolverhampton and Worcester.