Suitor not disclosed
House of Fraser has announced that offer talks for the company have come to an end.

The department store chain has been pursued by private equity giant Apax, which wanted to strike a£300 million-plus deal.

House of Fraser did not say whether Apax was the suitor, but it is understood that the venture capitalist had wanted to fund a management buy-out led by House of Fraser chief executive John Coleman.

House of Fraser is to announce preliminary results on March 24. The retailer revealed that in the six weeks since January 29 like-for-like sales were down 1.4 per cent, while total sales were up 16.2 per cent, including the Beatties and Jenners acquisitions.

In a statement, House of Fraser reiterated that it expected 'trading conditions to be difficult for at least the first half of 2006 and, in spite of continuing focus on costs, we expect some additional cost pressures in the next 12 months'.