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East Anglian companies owed half a million pounds by House of Fraser

PUBLISHED: 11:40 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:52 20 August 2018

House of Fraser in intu Chapelfield, Norwich. The company owed around £440,000 to creditors in East Anglia when it went into administration, a report by EY reveals. Picture: Archant

House of Fraser in intu Chapelfield, Norwich. The company owed around £440,000 to creditors in East Anglia when it went into administration, a report by EY reveals. Picture: Archant

Archant © 2006

Browse the list of companies owed money by House of Fraser – including East Anglian firms left nearly £500,000 out of pocket.

House of Fraser owed almost half a million pounds to businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk when it went into administration, new documents reveal.

Retailers around the region selling clothes, cosmetics and electronics have been left out of pocket by the department store chain, which owed a total of £484m to creditors when it went under.

Of this sum £439,090.57 was owed to companies in Norfolk and Suffolk, with a further £79,135.92 owed to Chelmsford-based Benefit Cosmetics.

Among the hardest hit are Multitone Electronics, based on the Hardwick Road Industrial Estate in King’s Lynn, which is owed £61,325.90, and mens outfitter D Gurteen and Sons, of Chantry Mills in Haverhill, which is owed £372,068.01.

The latter company also experienced the liquidation of another major customer last year, leading to it recording a pre-tax loss of £566,378 in the year to June 30, 2017.

House of Fraser was rescued out of administration by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct on August 10 – but the pre-pack deal agreed with administrators Ernst and Young (EY) does not require Mr Ashley to pay off outstanding debts.

A letter from EY to creditors says that there is “no prospect of any funds becoming available to unsecured creditors”.

But it added there may be some recourse for companies whose debts from House of Fraser accounted for at least 10% of its total debt.

The administrator’s proposals from EY state that House of Fraser made a pre-tax loss of £68.9m in the five months to June 2018 on turnover of £481.5m. This compares to turnover of £836.3m and a pre-tax profit of £9.9m in the year to January 2017.

The report said a decrease in underlying like-for-like sales (down 7.7% in the 13 weeks to April 28) had driven the losses.

In order to right the ship House of Fraser filed proposals for a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) on June 6 – which would have seen the closure of 31 of its 59 stores and the loss of several thousand jobs. The proposals were passed by creditors and shareholders on June 22.

But the EY report says some of the group’s landlords brought a CVA challenge on July 20. This was eventually followed by Chinese company C.banner pulling out of a deal to invest around £70m in the group.

After a week of discussions House of Fraser filed for administration on August 9.

It employed about 5,872 people, in addition to just over 10,000 staff employed in its concessions.

These are the East Anglian companies owed money by House of Fraser:

D Gurteen and Sons, Chantry Mills, Haverhill – £372,068.01

Benefit Cosmetics and Benefit Ireland, New Street, Chelmsford – £79,135.92

Multitone Electronics, Hardwick Industrial Estate, King’s Lynn – £61,325.90

Vintage Playing Cards, Woodside Business Park, Ingham – £3,773.42

Abahna, George Edwards Road, Fakenham – £836.36

Jaeger (in administration), Lubeck Road, King’s Lynn – £705.92

Start Rite Shoes, Broadland Business Park, Norwich – £286.67

Pinko, Lynn Road, Swaffham – £49.82

My Brown Bag, Price Andrews Road, Hellesdon – £41.77

H.B.J., Fore Street, Ipswich – £2.62

Puffa, St Nicholas Street, Ipswich – £0.08

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