Hamleys owner eyes House of Fraser stake
Reports suggest CBIH is looking to purchase 51% stake in the UK department store chain
The Chinese owner of Hamleys is said to be eyeing a stake in House of Fraser. According to the Press Association, C Banner International Holdings (CBIH), which purchased the toy retailer in October 2015, has entered into a memorandum of understanding with House of Fraser's majority stakeholder. Nanjing Xinjiekou acquired an 89 per cent share in the department store chain in 2014 and has been looking to divest itself of a tranche of that stake since March. CBIH is understood to be interested in a 51 per cent stake in House of Fraser.
House of Fraser is fast becoming another high street casualty, following a soft Christmas that saw sales drop 2.8 per cent over Christmas 2017. Part of Sunpower, Nanjing has already pumped around £30m into keeping House of Fraser afloat, but last week called in KPMG to oversee a restructuring plan, with the potential to launch a company voluntary agreement (CVA). As with the CVAs undertaken by Toys R Us and Maplin earlier this year, that could lead to store closures, job loss and pressure on landlords to offer favourable short-term payment schemes.