September 3, 2018 / 3:26 PM / 20 days ago

Retailer TFG's London business may face hit from House of Fraser collapse

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African clothing and homeware retailer The Foschini Group (TFG) (TFGJ.J) said on Monday its London business would be likely to incur some bad debt write-offs as a result of the collapse of House of Fraser.

FILE PHOTO: A branded sign is seen outside a House of Fraser store in Bristol, Britain, August 10, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

UK department store group House of Fraser group collapsed into administration and last month was immediately bought from administrators by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct (SPD.L).

“Whilst this consolidation creates further opportunities for TFG London’s brands, the House of Fraser situation has negatively impacted TFG London’s trade through the House of Fraser website and their concessions,” TFG said in a statement.

“In addition, whilst not material to the group, it appears likely that TFG London will incur some degree of bad debt write-off as a result of House of Fraser entering administration.”

TFG’s clothing brands in Britain include Phase Eight, Whistles and Hobbs. TFG London contributed 18.7 percent to group turnover in the year to March 2018. TFG London, which operates across continental Europe, is the group’s second biggest after TFG Africa, which includes South Africa.

In Britain, a string of retailers have gone out of business or announced plans to close shops this year, as they struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labor costs and higher business property taxes as well as growing online competition.

But TFG has continued to deliver a stronger performance against the broader UK retail market, thanks to its multi-brand strategy.

Group turnover grew by 32 percent for the first 20 weeks of the 2019 financial year, it said.

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla. Editing by Jane Merriman

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