August 1, 2018 / 3:29 PM / 4 months ago

Future of House of Fraser in doubt after C.banner cancels fundraising

The exterior of the King William Street branch of House of Fraser can be seen here in central London, Britain, June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - A rescue deal for British retailer House of Fraser was thrown into doubt on Wednesday after C.banner cancelled planned fundraising for its deal to become a majority shareholder in the department store.

House of Fraser said talks about other possible sources of investment were ongoing, and that an update would be given when appropriate.

C.banner, an international retailer, had agreed in May to buy a 51 percent stake in House of Fraser but earlier on Wednesday it cancelled a planned share placing that would have funded the deal and announced a profit warning.

“In light of C.banner’s announcement... House of Fraser is in discussions with alternative investors and is exploring options to obtain the required investment on the same timetable,” the 169-year-old retailer said in a statement.

C.banner, a major retailer of mid-range to premium footwear brands in China, bought famous London toy shop Hamleys in 2015.

House of Fraser had agreed to close stores as part of the rescue deal, and in June creditors approved a restructuring plan which would see 31 of its 59 stores close early next year and pave the way for the loss of 6,000 jobs.

A string of UK retailers have either gone out of business or announced plans to close shops in recent months as they struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs and higher business property taxes as well as growing online competition.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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