New Report Highlights House of Fraser’s Mounting Debt to Brands

LONDON — Trouble continues to mount at House of Fraser as a recent report by Ernst & Young, the professional services firm, cites that the retailer owes millions of pounds to its creditors, including major luxury brand partners.
The retail chain, which was bought on Friday morning by Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, is indebted to a slew of retailers including Giorgio Armani, Mulberry and Kurt Geiger.
Kurt Geiger is owed 4.9 million pounds, Giorgio Armani 1.59 million pounds, Mulberry 2.4 million pounds, Warehouse 1.4 million pounds and J. Barbour 3 million pounds.
The news follows at the heels of a payment dispute between XPO Logistics, which runs two of HoF’s warehouses, and Sports Direct, who has stopped fulfilling orders for the retailer and who is owed 30.4 million pounds.
As a result, HoF shut down its web site, reportedly sitting on at least 50,000 unfulfilled online orders. XPO Logistics and Sports Direct could not be reached for comment.
The report also shows that HoF made a pretax loss of 4.1 million pounds for the year to Jan. 21, 2018 and in the first quarter to April 28, the retailer witnessed a 7.7 percent drop in turnover with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization

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How Two Newlyweds Paid Off $52K of Debt in Under Two Years

In our Money Mic series, we hand over the podium to people with controversial views about money. These are their views, not ours, but we welcome your responses.

Today, one man recounts the moment he realized that he and his wife were drowning in debt, and how digging themselves out transformed their finances, their marriage — and his calling in life.

Before tying the knot in 2008, my wife, Kim, and I never discussed money.

It wasn’t an intentional choice to be secretive — we just never prioritized sharing details about our income, spending habits, or debt when we were dating.

But I had financial skeletons in my closet. With $ 18,000 in student loans and another $ 18,000 from an auto loan, I brought a significant amount of debt into our marriage.

I guess I didn’t worry about fessing up to Kim because I wasn’t too concerned myself. I figured, with a little discipline, I’d get around to paying it off at some point.

What did alarm me, however, was an incident that happened shortly after our wedding.

In the course of one month, Kim charged $ 600 of new clothing and designer handbags to our joint credit card — a fact I discovered while looking over the statement one day.

I was truly shocked, and it got me thinking: Did we have a spending problem?

What I realized, after taking a closer look at our finances, is that it wasn’t just Kim who was threatening our financial wellbeing. In just a few months’ time, we’d run up a $ 7,000 balance on our credit cards, thanks to a combination of Kim’s shopping, my overspending on everyday expenses and our $ 1,400 honeymoon cruise.

When I combined that balance with my own debt and Kim’s outstanding $ 9,000 in student loans, I realized we were on the hook for $ 52,000 — plus another $ 350,000 for our mortgage.

RELATED: How I Paid $ 100,000 Off My Mortgage in Under 2 Years

At the time, Kim was just kicking off her career as a high school teacher, and I was selling flooring. Our combined annual income landed at just around $ 70,000 — and we had no savings to speak of.

Seeing the numbers in black and white was anxiety-inducing, to say the least. How had we mismanaged our money so badly? And, more importantly, what did this mean for our future?

Prior to tallying up our debt, we’d talked about traveling internationally, starting a family and, some day, retiring comfortably. There was so much we wanted out of life, but basic math showed us we’d never manage to make progress on our goals while carrying this $ 52,000 weight.

I knew it was time to get real — and Kim agreed. So we started hashing out a plan that would put us on the path to financial freedom.

Trimming, Selling and Communicating — Our Debt-Repayment Plan of Attack
Whether it’s money, business or any other area of expertise, I’ve always been a big believer in drawing upon others’ success.

So I set out to find inspiration from people who knew a thing or two about money management, devouring personal finance blogs and books for strategies on getting out of debt. We also enrolled in a 13-week personal finance class through our church, which focused on how to better manage money as a couple.

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The flood of new information gave way to some powerful changes.

The first thing we did was write down all of our assets, debts, income and expenses on one sheet of paper to see the big picture — and immediately realized we needed to slash our expenses.

Next, I painstakingly reviewed every line item in our budget, and found a lot of opportunities to save. I negotiated our Internet bill to under $ 20 and canceled our cable package, freeing up another $ 70 a month. We also scaled back restaurant visits to just a few times a month and started clipping coupons.

Believe it or not, these measures put an extra $ 400 to $ 500 in our pockets each month that we could throw toward debt repayment.

And we didn’t stop there. We also took steps to bring more money in.

I started with my brand-new Nissan Altima, which I sold for $ 16,000 and replaced with a 12-year-old used car for $ 2,500. Sure, the passenger-side door didn’t open from the outside, but I was bettering our financial picture — and that made it worth it.

Selling large household odds and ends online — like our Nintendo Wii and a few of Kim’s designer purses — also became part of our routine. And Kim completed some professional development coursework that resulted in a $ 1,500 raise.

Any time extra money fell in our lap — whether through a pay boost, a hefty tax return, or an item sold online — we automatically earmarked it for debt repayment. Once the momentum was in full swing, we were putting anywhere from $ 1,000 to $ 5,000 a month toward our debt.

To stay on track, Kim and I had weekly money talks to review a comprehensive spreadsheet we’d made detailing our finances from month to month. Clicking from one tab to the next, we could literally see our debt gradually shrinking — which served as a powerful visual reminder of our progress.

These weekly money dates also allowed us to hash out problems — like disagreements over how much to spend on entertainment — and encouraged us when we were feeling down.

I remember a few months when we didn’t make as much progress because I hadn’t earned as much commission from work. But talking through such issues reenergized us to keep going, making our relationship even stronger.

Finally, after 18 months, we crossed over the finish line — and became debt-free.

RELATED: Real People Dish: The #1 Thing That Inspired Me to Get Out of Debt

The Debt-Free Life: 5 Years and Counting
About four and a half years have passed since Kim and I began the new, financially-free chapter of our lives.

After climbing out of the hole, we prioritized building up our emergency fund to $ 15,000, which was about five months’ worth of expenses — and started saving for a big international trip we’d dreamed about.

After socking away $ 300 a month for two years, we finally embarked on a two-week trip to Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. The best part: The vacation was 100 percent paid in cash.

As simple as it sounds, that’s probably the biggest lesson I learned from our financial journey: You can’t spend more than you make. It’s an obvious rule of thumb, but it was something Kim and I needed to learn the hard way.

Speaking of income, a happy result of our experience is that I’m now generating two to three times more money than I was when we were swallowed in debt… as a financial planner.

It feels great to come full-circle, using my skills and passions in a way that generates income — and helps both us and others work toward financial security.

Today, Kim and I have about $ 20,000 set aside for retirement, on top of our $ 15,000 emergency fund. We also have another $ 5,000 designated for travel and gifts, so we aren’t blindsided by baby showers and birthdays.

What’s more, after significantly paying down the mortgage on our condo, we sold it toward the end of 2014. Between our equity and an extra $ 8,000 we’d saved on our own, we were able to put a 20 percent down payment on a larger home.

And we’re going to need that extra space — our first child is due at the end of this month.

Prepping for parenthood got me thinking about what it really means to be a good example. My parents, who are divorced, both individually filed for bankruptcy — so you could say I didn’t have the strongest money role models. But when it comes to raising my own children, teaching better money habits is a priority.

And knowing that I took control of my own finances, broke the debt cycle, and forged a new path for my family empowers me to do so.

RELATED: How a Simple White Envelope Resurrected My Finances

This post originally appeared on LearnVest.

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Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom

Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom

Everyone wants to slash their debt, save more, and become financially secure. Regardless of your situation, you can get on the road to financial freedom – and you can do it yourself in the next 30 days Whether you’re on the verge of filing for bankruptcy or you’re a high wage earner who still frets over money, this book is for you. You can be free from financial worries, rest at night knowing your bills are paid, and have peace of mind when it comes to money matters.It all starts by eliminating excessive debt, and learning simple strategies to save your hard-earned cash. If you want to be debt-free and achieve financial freedom, you need an action plan to guide you. This book is your step-by-step plan. It’s simple. It’s easy to understand. And it works.Zero Debt will also help you put a financial fortress around yourself – offering tips on budgeting, the importance of having insurance, low-cost strategies for creating an updated will, creative ways to instantly put dollars in your pocket, and more.
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Dog Ears Music: Black Friday Playlist — “One Debt Away”


Middle Class Rut

Song: One Debt Away

Album: No Name No Color (Deluxe Edition)

Genre: Alternative


Hank Williams

Song: Window Shopping

Album: 20 of Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits

Genre: Country


The Beatles

Song: Can’t Buy Me Love

Album: A Hard Day’s Night

Genre: Rock


The Velvet Underground

Song: The Gift

Album: White Light/White Heat

Genre: Rock


Bernard Herrmann

Song: The Toys

Album: Psycho

Genre: Soundtrack


Peggy Lee

Song: Big Spender

Album: The Best of Miss Peggy Lee

Genre: Vocal


The Pied Pipers

Song: What a Deal

Album: Good Deal, MacNeal

Genre: Jazz


Bob Dylan

Song: New Pony

Album: Street-Legal (Remastered)

Genre: Rock


The Miracles

Song: Shop Around

Album: 20th Century Masters-The Millennium Collection: Best of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Genre: R&B/Soul


Tony Bennett

Song: Love for Sale

Album: The Beat of My Heart

Genre: Jazz


Fitz & The Tantrums

Song: MoneyGrabber

Album: Pickin’ Up the Pieces

Genre: Pop



Song: Cheapskate

Album: In It for the Money

Genre: Alternative


Ry Cooder

Song: Smells Like Money

Album: The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed

Genre: Rock


Buffalo Springfield

Song: Pay the Price

Album: Buffalo Springfield

Genre: Rock



Song: Sold Out

Album: Sleater-Kinney

Genre: Alternative


Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart

Song: Two for the Price of One

Album: I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite?

Genre: Pop


Hungry Kids of Hungary

Song: No Returns

Album: Escapades

Genre: Alternative


Jetty Boys

Song: Empty Handed

Album: Sheboygan

Genre: Alternative


Modest Mouse

Song: Bankrupt On Selling

Album: The Lonesome Crowded West

Genre: Alternative


Jimmy Buffett

Song: Money Back Guarantee (1992 Box Set Version)

Album: Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads

Genre: Rock


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