• Sanpower may sell stake to Hamley’s Chinese owner
  • Acquired House of Fraser for £450m two years ago
  • Statement on Hong Kong stock exchange talks of “cooperation agreement”

Chinese tycoon Yuan Yafei, who controls Sanpower conglomerate, is considering offloading House of Fraser after acquiring the UK department store chain just two years ago.

House of Fraser’s Chinese owner Sanpower may sell its stake in the department store to Hamley’s owner C.banner International.

Sanpower bought House of Fraser just two years ago for £450m.

Sanpower Group’s chairman Yafei is in discussions with Hong Kong-listed footwear retailer C.banner International about a potential sale.

Sanpower bought House of Fraser through its subsidiary Nanjing Xinjiekou, which runs a chain of department stores in the Nanjing province of China.

A statement on the Hong Kong stock exchange said that the company was investigating a “cooperation arrangement” with C.banner which “may eventually lead to an acquisition” of a stake in House of Fraser.

The statement said an alliance with House of Fraser’s parent company Highland could bestow the businesses “greater bargaining power” with suppliers and help grow brands.

Hong Kong-listed footwear retailer C.banner snapped up toy retailer Hamleys last year for about £100m. It plans to open the store’s first outlet in China this September. The outlet would be inside a new House of Fraser flagship, Oriental Fraser, in Nanjing.

House of Fraser reported that it turned a profit for the first time in 10 years earlier this month.