Struggling French Connection confirms it could be sold – here’s what it means for your retail rights

STRUGGLING high street fashion store, French Connection, has confirmed today that it could be up for sale.

Its board has issued a statement saying that it is currently reviewing all its strategic options, including a potential sale.

French Connection has confirmed rumours that it could be sold

Rumours that a sale of the retail chain was on the cards were first reported by Sky News over the weekend.

But French Connection has stressed that an offer might not be made, so there is no guarantee that a deal will be done.

High street shoppers might be concerned about the news that another store is struggling.

A number of big retailers have gone into administration this year, causing havoc with deliveries, refunds and gift cards and leaving thousands of consumers out of pocket.

But while French Connection is looking for a sale, the company says it is still operating normally.

The retailer adds that shoppers have no need for concern – with sales, refunds, and gift cards still being processed as usual.

A spokesperson for French Connection said: “It’s business as usual at French Connection.

“This announcement has nothing to do with our stores or website which will continue to offer great service and fantastic clothes to our customers.”

James Walker, the founder and CEO of free complaints service Revolver, said that it was fairly unlikely that French Connection would stop honouring gift cards, since the retailer is not going into administration, but added that customers who were concerned could take precautions.

He said: “If consumers want to be extra safe, they can consider spending their gift cards ASAP.

“Other than that, consumers shouldn’t worry too much about the brand changing hands. From a legal perspective, a new owner has no formal obligation to honour deals with previous customers and suppliers.

“Practically, though, it’s most often business as usual ­– and most new owners will fulfil orders, process returns and grant refunds as before.”

French Connection currently has almost 400 stores in 50 countries worldwide – 130 of these are in the UK.

It has struggled recently, reporting a £15million loss in the first half of this year following five previous loss-making years.

Last month, the group announced plans to shut eight stores, having already closed two in the first half of the year.

Founder and chief executive Stephen Marks is looking to sell his 42 per cent stake in the business.

Last year, shareholders demanded that the chain should be “broken up” after it reported a loss of £5.3million.

French Connection has concessions in House of Fraser stores and was hit hard by the department store’s collapse earlier this year.

It is not clear whether Sports Direction billionaire Mike Ashley is interested in buying French Connection. He owns the second-largest stake, holding 27 per cent of the business.

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