Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s Philip Day considering House of Fraser rescue bid

Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s owner Philip Day is understood to be considering a rescue bid for House of Fraser.

According to Sky News, the retail mogul, who has earned a reputation for buying up distressed chains, is one of a small number of figures in talks with the department store.

Yesterday Hamleys’ Chinese owner C.banner announced it was pulling out of talks with House of Fraser over a £70 million funding deal, leaving House of Fraser without a source of investment to prevent administration ahead of bills due at the end of the month.

In a statement yesterday, the department store confirmed that C.banner had withdrawn from talks, but said it was “in discussions with alternative investors and is exploring options to obtain the required investment on the same timetable”.

It is understood that Day, whose retail portfolio includes Jaeger, Peacocks and Austin Reed, is in the early stages of a potential bid for House of Fraser, but details are scarce, including how many stores and jobs he could potentially save.

This follows news earlier this week that a second retail mogul was considering a bid for the company.

Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, who already has an 11 per cent stake in the company, reportedly met with bankers acting for House of Fraser who were seeking a £50 million loan.

Influential credit ratings agency Moody’s also judged House of Fraser to be in technical default on its loans, after downgrading from the “very high risk” rating it received in December.

House of Fraser is pushing ahead with plans to undergo a CVA, which would see 31 of its 59 UK and Ireland stores close down and rent reductions on the remaining 10, leading to around 6000 job losses.

Chief executive Alex Williamson previously described the CVA as the retailer’s “last viable” option to stay afloat.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill group and House of Fraser both declined to comment.

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