Retail news round-up on March 21, 2014: H&M launches French site, J Crew in talks to open more London stores, eBay urged to sell 20% of PayPal

H&M launches online shopping in France

High street retailer H&M has launched a French online store this week, The Drum reported. The H&M Home range, available exclusively online, will also make a debut on the site. H&M says French customers can access a broad array of clothing and accessories 24 hours via their tablets, smartphones and computers anywhere in the country.

J Crew in talks to open stores at Westfield London and Sloane Square

J Crew is in talks to open stores at Westfield London and Sloane Square, Drapers reported. The US retailer is looking to open an outlet within Westfield London’s luxury retail hub, The Village, according to a source close to the situation. It is still undecided whether the Westfield London shop will be womenswear-only or if it will stock a mix of menswear, womenswear and kidswear. It is believed that the Sloane Square store would house womenswear. If the premises are signed, the retailer is likely to launch the stores this year.

eBay urged to sell 20% of PayPal payments unit in IPO

Activist investor Carl Icahn has urged eBay to offload 20% of its PayPal payments unit in an initial public offering (IPO), Reuters reported. In January, Icahn called for eBay to put up its fast growing PayPal business for sale, arguing the unit is undervalued as part of eBay. In his latest missive to fellow eBay shareholders, he wrote in an open letter that hiving off only part of PayPal would retain the stand-alone PayPal benefits while maintaining the efficiencies of having eBay and PayPal together.

As a public company, the payments firm should also command a higher valuation than as part of a larger corporation, shedding the ‘conglomerate discount,’ he said. Its stock could then also be used to bankroll future acquisitions.