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South Africa's Truworths in talks to restructure debt at British shoe chain Office

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African fashion retailer Truworths International Ltd <TRUJ.J> said on Tuesday its British footwear chain Office has entered debt restructuring talks with its lenders amid tough trading conditions.

“In light of the depressed retail trading environment currently being experienced in the UK, Office has entered into discussions with the relevant lenders regarding potential debt restructuring options,” Truworths said in a statement

The company said Office has around 45 million pounds of debt, “a significant portion” of which will be settled through a lump sum payment maturing in December 2020.

Truworths acquired the Office chain in 2015 but the business has been under pressure due to the collapse of department store House of Fraser, where it had several concessions.

Retailers are struggling to cope with uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union, weakening consumer spending and an increasing shift to online sales, meaning many are weighed down with excess and costly store space as they invest in distribution centres and logistics.

The sector has already seen the collapse of BHS, music store HMV, electronics firm Maplin and cycle shop Evans.

The South African-listed clothing, shoes, jewellery and homeware retailer said the debt restructuring talks will not have a material impact on the its operations in its home market and the rest of Africa.

(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg)

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