House of Fraser swings to huge loss as crisis deepens

House of Fraser swung to a staggering £43.9 million loss in 2017 as Brexit, terrorist attacks and increased online competition took its toll on the beleaguered British department store.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 10th May 2018, 6:55 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:12 am
New owner remains confident
New owner remains confident

Figures released as part of a takeover of the firm by C.Banner, the owner of Hamleys, also show the retailer’s sales fell from £840.9m to £787.8m, a drop of 6.3%.

The pre-tax loss for the twelve months to December 31 2017 compares to a profit of £1.5m the year before.

“The Brexit referendum and the UK’s resultant decision to leave the European Union and the terrorist attack in London, combined with a rapidly evolving retail market, produced a period of uncertainty and volatility that resulted in a difficult trading environment for the whole retail industry in the UK,” C.Banner said.

The losses come at a perilous time for House of Fraser and its Chinese owner Sanpower.

In a desperate bid to save the business, Sanpower is selling a majority stake in the business while pursuing store closures.

C.Banner is taking a 51% stake in the group by acquiring shares in Sanpower affiliate Nanjing Cenbest and subscribing to new shares as part of an investment in the business.

C.Banner is spending a total £141m to complete the acquisition, according to calculations based on a Hong Kong stock exchange release.

Despite the poor financial showing, C.Banner said House of Fraser would become “more stable” when it completed its restructuring plan, the details of which will be released in June.