Today, the calls of Mike Ashley, the billionaire retailer, for an insolvency investigation into the former directors of the House of Fraser were supported by one of the major suppliers of the troubled department store.
Ehab Shouly, the Managing Director and boss of Tea Terrace, informed the Sunday Times that the erstwhile bosses of House of Fraser had chosen to withheld some important information regarding the firm prior to its collapse last August. It accused them of failing to disclose the extent of the chain’s financial problems and “stringing us along.”
Shouly claimed that Alex Williamson, the former chief executive of the department store, and Frank Slevin, the former chairman, “kept vital information from us and kept telling us that news about the impending collapse was not true.” Shouly and Rowena, his wife, have tearooms in three of the stores of the House of Fraser.
A source who is close to the matter disclosed that there are also some similar suppliers of the House of Fraser that are expressing their support for the calls of the new owner for an investigation into the collapse of the company.
Both Williamson and Slevin have experienced heightened pressure over the debts that have a total of more than £880 million when the company went bust last August.
The remarks come a week after Mike Ashley, the new owner of House of Fraser who bought the firm out of administration for a deal that amounted to £90 million, stated that the demise of the firm should be “fully investigated.”
XPO Logistics, the operator of two of the warehouses that supply House of Fraser, has been holding crisis discussions with Ashley, after the buyout, amid disputes over the debt that was left behind by the previous owners of the firm.
Ashley stated: “I believe that XPO and others were totally misled by Frank Slevin and the House of Fraser board.”
EY, an administrator, is scheduled to start the discussions with members of the new team of the department board later in the week to talk about a number of potential issues that relate to the board and the events leading up to the collapse of House of Fraser.