Embattled UK department store chain House of Fraser has announced 31 of its 59 stores are set to shut as part of a rescue plan, but the company's Dublin and Belfast stores are not affected by the move.

House of Fraser said the planned closures, which include its Oxford Street store, come as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

A CVA is a controversial insolvency procedure in vogue among struggling retailers in the UK.

If the CVA is approved by landlords, it will affect up to 2,000 House of Fraser staff and a further 4,000 across brands and concessions.

The company said the shops earmarked for closure would remain open until early 2019.

House of Fraser has one store in Ireland - in Dundrum Town Centre - and it said this store is excluded from the CVA as it is a separate legal entity.

The group said it also plans to relocate its Baker Street head office and the Granite House office in Glasgow to help slash costs and "secure House of Fraser's future".

"Today's announcement is one of the most important in this company's 169-year history," commented Alex Williamson, chief executive of House of Fraser.

"We, as a management team, have a responsibility to take necessary steps to ensure House of Fraser's survival, which is why we are making these proposals. We are fully committed to supporting those personally affected by the proposals," he added.

Other UK retailers undertaking CVAs in a bid to keep trading include New Look, Mothercare and Carpetright.

UK restaurant businesses have also been seeking to cut their costs with store closure programmes, with Carluccio's, Prezzo, Byron and Prezzo all pushing through CVAs this year.

The House of Fraser stores identified for closure under the CVA proposal are Altrincham, Aylesbury, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Camberley, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chichester, Cirencester, Cwmbran, Darlington, Doncaster, Edinburgh Frasers, Epsom, Grimsby, High Wycombe, Hull, Leamington Spa, Lincoln, London Oxford Street, London King William Street, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Shrewsbury, Skipton, Swindon, Telford, Wolverhampton and Worcester.

The retailer has a history stretching back almost 170 years and is one of the UK's best-known fashion brands.

The retail giant began with a single drapery shop, opened in Glasgow by Hugh Fraser and James Arthur in 1849.

It grew steadily, becoming House of Fraser in 1941, then took hold as a national chain after the Second World War.

Over the years, the business has acquired numerous companies, including Harrods, which is now privately owned.

House of Fraser has been owned by Egyptian-born billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed and before that by the Fraser family, from which it takes its name.

It was bought by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group for £480m in 2014. 

Like other retailers, House of Fraser has struggled over the past few years as stiff competition from online rivals and the slump in consumer confidence have knocked the firm.

It forced Sanpower to seek outside help in the form of a stake sale to Hamley's owner C.banner.