Arcadia and its billionaire owner Sir Philip Green have hit out at reports he is planning to offload all or part of the fashion group.
According to The Sunday Times, Green was thought to be in talks with Chinese textiles business Shandong Ruyi over a potential deal.
Green, who acquired Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins and Burton owner Arcadia in 2002, was said to have drafted in HSBC as it sought a buyer.
However, in a strongly-worded statement, Green and the Arcadia board insisted the claims were “totally false” and said the group was “not in discussions with any party regarding a partial or total disposal.”
It said: “Neither Sir Philip nor any of the directors of Arcadia have ever met or had any contact with Shandong Ruyi, and they have never been to the Arcadia offices as was suggested to look at the company’s books.
“We have the greatest respect for them as an organisation, but have had no dealings or contact with them.
“There are further statements in the article that discussions have taken place with HSBC. These are also totally untrue.”
Arcadia added that The Sunday Times story was “further evidence” of what it called a “personal vendetta against Sir Philip Green” by journalist Oliver Shah.
The company said: “His being allowed to use the front page of a prominent Sunday newspaper by his editors for a totally false story and his own personal vanity project is wholly unacceptable.
“The 22,000 people that work at Arcadia should not be subjected to this type of malicious rumour-mongering.”
Arcadia has 2,800 shops across the globe, but its flagship Topshop fascia is understood to have suffered difficult trading amid intense competition from online rivals such as Asos and Boohoo, as well as the likes of Primark, H&M and Zara owner Inditex.