House of Fraser could return to the stock market in a move to simplify its complicated ownership structure.
Chairman Don McCarthy, whose family owns a 20% stake in HoF, is understood to be spearheading the plans for a float of the business, according to the Sunday Times.
It would be the third time HoF has been owned publically, and it is thought the listing could value the retailer at between £200m and £300m.
Almost half of the department store chain, which has 61 stores, is owned by failed Icelandic banks, entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter and Lloyds Banking Group.
However these are reported to have fallen through over valuations of the business, shareholder disagreements and an onerous pension deficit.
Independent analyst Nick Bubb said the news of the impending listing would be “welcomed” because “the ranks of the mid-cap retailers have been denuded by takeovers and private equity buyouts.”
Bubb said it would be good to have another quoted benchmark for department store rival Debenhams.
However he added there are a trio of problems.
“One is that House of Fraser still doesn’t really make any money, despite its solid like-for-like sales record and impressive online sales growth, given its high fixed cost base,” said Bubb.
“Another problem is that the average cynical City fund manager will be wary of a business which has, apparently, been hawked around all the potential trade buyers without attracting much interest. And another problem is that it is still not entirely clear who owns all the shares in House of Fraser, given the murky Icelandic bank dealings and dispute about Kevin Stanford’s position.”
House of Fraser, which delivered a 3.3% rise in like-for-like sales in the year to January 26, declined to comment.