Under-performing Debenhams is reported to be looking for a European merge partner.
German company Acandor, which owns the KarstadtQuelle chain of department stores, says it has been in merger talks with Debenhams, which in April reported a 7% drop in sales over the previous year and whose profits are expected to be severely hit.
Acandor is thought to want to merge its own stores with a competitor’s before floating on the London Stock Exchange. Debenhams has also reportedly approached French department store business Galeries Lafayette.
Debenhams was refloated last May after two years in private ownership. The share price has since slumped by a third.
The embattled retailer’s attempt earlier this year to enter the German market in its own right also appears to have been unsuccessful. It is expected to close its chain of trial franchise stores there at the end of next month after its offer failed to impress the German audience.