HoF plays down reports of MBO

House of Fraser has played down reports that directors of the department store group may stage a management buy-out.

'There may have been initial conversations, but nothing instigated by the company. There is nothing happening,' a spokeswoman claimed.

Retail entrepreneur Tom Hunter recently tried and failed to take House of Fraser private, driven by a desire to consolidate the department store sector.

Investec analyst Matthew McEachran said he is sceptical and added: 'Unless there is an intention of doing more work on the consolidation process, a management buy-out is going to struggle to gain returns.

'House of Fraser has struggled to make returns over two years in a buoyant market.'