Chichester jobs under threat as House of Fraser confirms closure

House of Fraser, Chichester. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160911-095126008
House of Fraser, Chichester. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160911-095126008

More than 160 jobs could be lost at Chichester’s House of Fraser after the high street chain revealed a sweeping set of shop closures.

Up to 6,000 jobs are under threat acorss the UK after the retailer’s shock announcement to close 31 of its 59 stores across the UK and Ireland – including its base in Chichester, which has 166 staff members.

House of Fraser said the planned closures, which include its Oxford Street store, come as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – a controversial insolvency procedure in vogue among struggling retailers.

If the CVA is approved by landlords, it will affect up to 2,000 House of Fraser staff and a further 4,000 across brands and concessions.

It said the shops earmarked for closure would remain open until early 2019.

House of Fraser said it has already informed staff set to be impacted by the plans, and was committed to ‘working with all those affected openly and with sensitivity over the months ahead’.

A spokesperson for House of Fraser said: “House of Fraser’s store in Chichester is among the 31 sites that has been identified for closure.

“All 166 staff members employed directly by the company or its concessions have been notified and will be supported throughout this process.”

As well as the store closures, House of Fraser’s restructuring deal will also see the rents slashed for a further ten stores that will remain open.

Landlords, who must vote through the plan, have already expressed serious concerns about the proposals and met on Tuesday to discuss how to respond to House of Fraser.

At least 75 per cent of creditor approval is needed, with the vote set to take place on June 22.

Property agency JLL has teamed up with lawyers at Begbies Traynor to unite both institutional and individual landlords, and advise on a course of action on House of Fraser’s plans.

House of Fraser stressed the group will continue to trade ‘as normal’ online and through stores ahead of the CVA vote and throughout the proposal.

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