House of Fraser’s new Chinese owner is planning a £150m cash injection to revamp its department stores and propel its online growth.
It is understood that the bulk of the £150m will be spent on refurbishing House of Fraser’s stores. It has 59 stores in the UK and Ireland and one in Abu Dhabi that opened last year.
Nanjing Cenbest, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower, is planning to launch House of Fraser in China and will open its first store there within two years.
Sanpower chairman Yuan Yafei said: “We are excited to tap the significant opportunities that House of Fraser has in China, where the brand has very strong growth potential.”
Nanjing will also invest in driving House of Fraser’s multichannel offer and IT infrastructure systems to improve its operational efficiency.
Online has been a big driver of House of Fraser’s sales growth over the past few years with sales via the channel soaring 41% in its full year to January 25.
House of Fraser has set a target to grow online sales from £300m per annum to £750m by 2017.
The deal, which excludes an 11% stake held by Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley, is a landmark moment highlighting the growing economic power of China and the retail opportunities arising as a result.
Yafei said: “It is an unprecedented transaction and the largest acquisition of a foreign retailer by a Chinese listed company.”