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Clock ticking for House of Fraser rescue as thousands of jobs hang in balance

The beleaguered department store chain must secure funding before August 20.

House of Fraser is facing a race against the clock to find fresh investment and avoid a calamitous administration that would imperil 17,000 jobs.

The beleaguered department store chain confirmed on Thursday that it must secure funding before August 20 as crunch talks with potential rescuers continue.

“House of Fraser confirms that 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 required by no later than 20 August 2018,” the group said in a statement on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

If cash is not injected into the business, it will fall into administration.

House of Fraser has been plunged into fresh crisis after C.banner, the Chinese owner of Hamleys, pulled its investment into the troubled retail chain.

C.banner was planning to buy a 51% stake in House of Fraser and plough £70 million into the ailing retailer, but scrapped the move last week.

House of Fraser’s lenders, which include HSBC, are now locked in talks with would-be suitors, including tracksuit tycoon Mike Ashley and Philip Day, the billionaire owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

The pair are submitting proposals to rescue House of Fraser this week.

It is understood that an offer by retail restructuring specialist Alteri, which was also in the running, is not being taken seriously by the lending group.

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.

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