Sports Direct buys House of Fraser out of administration for £90 million

House of Fraser store sign. House of Fraser has settled a legal challenge from landlords over plans to close 31 of its 59 stores next year. PRESS ASSOCIATION

Even within a struggling industry, the likes of House of Fraser look like relics of the Edwardian era, about as relevant to the 21st century as typewriters and video players.

House of Fraser said administrators Ernst & Young had confirmed that the business would continue trading, including all stores and offices, while they attempted to complete a sale.

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct will attempt to keep as many House of Fraser stores open as possible following a £90 million rescue of the ailing retailer.

The move means the company will takeover all the stores, including the one in The Oracle in Reading, Berkshire.

Mike Ashley's retail group has picked up the stricken department store business just hours after it was put into administration, in a deal that sees it take over the group's full estate of 59 stores.

Prior to the latest crisis, House of Fraser had recently agreed a so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with landlords to close half of stores, with 6,000 jobs in the firing line.

The firm added: "Significant progress has been made towards completing a sale of the group's business and assets".

House of Fraser is appointing administrators after giving up the fight to save the business, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

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It said: "Discussions continue with interested investors and its main secured creditors, which are focused on concluding as quickly as possible to enable receipt of an investment by no later than 20 August".

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

Notices placed on the doors of the Belfast department store said it would open later than usual at 11am on Friday after the chain entered administration.

Potentially nodding to Mike Ashley's rumoured interest, House of Fraser chief executive Alex Williamson had said: "We are hopeful that the current negotiations will shortly be concluded".

"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".

While the department store entered rescue talks with a number of different companies, these have continued to break down over the past few months.

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

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