Sep 27, 2019
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Office refinances debt, stores to close

Sep 27, 2019

Office owner Truworths International has agreed a key refinancing deal that secures the future of its struggling British shoe chain.


On Thursday the South African owner said it has successfully concluded an agreement with Standard Bank to receive a £32.5 million facility to refinance its business in the UK.

This, coupled with £10.5 million from the retailer’s existing cash reserves, has been used to settle Office’s £43 million debt.

The chain ran into trouble after failing to cope with some of the toughest trading conditions seen on the high street for years.

Office is not out of the woods just yet, as its parent company is planning to move forwards with a store closure programme to help it survive the uncertain economic climate.

“Trading conditions for retailers remain challenging in the UK as a result of dampened consumer confidence and uncertainty ahead of the end-October 2019 Brexit deadline,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.

“The board advises however, that management continues with the implementation of the turnaround and alignment initiatives in the Office business and early indications are that
the business has been suitably stabilised.”

Last month, Truworths CEO Michael Mark told investors that up to 15 Office stores are on the chopping block and will close in the next two years as leases expire. The chain operates about 100 stores in the UK.

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