House of Fraser has admitted it needs to secure new funding by no later than 20 August as it battles for survival.
Sources said the ailing department store was facing a cash squeeze that could lead it to fall into administration by the middle of next week when it will have to pay suppliers more than £15m ahead of monthly rent bills due by around 20 August.
A fall into administration would put about 17,000 jobs at risk, including those working for brands’ concessions within House of Fraser as well as those working directly for the retailer.
Potential bidders including Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, Philip Day, the owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, and restructuring expert Alteri, have all been asked to put forward their best offers this week as the group’s lenders consider their options.
#House of Fraser issued a statement to the Luxembourg stock exchange, where its bonds are listed, saying that “discussions continue with interested investors and its main secured creditors” which it was aiming to conclude by 20 August.
The group needs about £50m after C.banner, the Hong Kong-listed owner of Hamleys, pulled out of plans to raise £70m to invest in House of Fraser. The investment is part of a restructuring plan which already includes the closure of 31 of the group’s 59 stores.