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PPR to shed retail businesses to focus on branded portfolio

French retail group PPR is to sell off part of its retail portfolio to raise cash ahead of plans to acquire new brands, according to reports.

PPR is looking to dispose of retail businesses which generate 70% of group sales or €14 billion (£12.6bn), to focus on PPR’s existing Gucci Group and Puma businesses, and to help finance new brand acquisitions.

Its retail businesses include its Redcats mail order firm which owns the La Redoute catalogue, as well as the Fnac, the book and music retail chain, and the furniture retailer Conforma.

Under the Gucci group umbrella, PPR owns brands including Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. PPR is looking to bolster that portfolio by buying up new clothing and accessories brands.

The Financial Times said analysts had speculated that targets for acquisition could include Ralph Lauren, Levi Strauss & Co, Abercrombie & Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste.

PPR’s group sales totalled €20.2bn (£18.2bn) last year.

Francois-Henri Pinault, who became PPR chairman and chief executive in 2005, has previously considered shedding the lower-performing businesses but so far has only sold the Printemps department store chain to Printemps chairman Laurence Danon in 2006.

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