August 1, 2011, 3:59 PM

PPR prepares to shop around its Redcats brand

The French retail conglomerate looks for a possible sale by the end of the year.

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PPR Group, the French retailing conglomerate that is also one of Europe’s biggest online retailers, is close to putting one of its biggest e-commerce properties up for sale.

PPR, No. 5 in the Internet Retailer Top 300 Europe, is preparing to sell Redcats, No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, which generated web sales in the U.S. in 2010 of $716.5 million, the company mentioned on its recent year-to-date earnings call with analysts.

Specifically PPR is working with various international financial institutions to fund a sale of Redcats, which operates more than a dozen e-commerce brands such as OneStopPlus.com, SportsmanGuide.com and BrylaneHome.com, possibly as soon as the end of the year. No immediate buyers have been identified and any sale may not happen at all if the global economy, especially in Europe and the U.S., begins to stagnate, deputy CEO and chief financial officer Jean-François Palus told analysts.

“PPR is implementing a process similar to the one we used last year to dispose of Conforama,” he told analysts. “The case has been presented to the banks in order to set up a ‘staple financing’ and a financing solution for a possible buyer. The process is moving forward.” In February PPR sold Conforama, a multichannel retailer of discount home furnishings, to Steinhoff International Holdings Ltd. in a deal valued at $1.65 billion (1.2 billion euro).

PPR is looking to sell Redcats as it retools the company to focus on its luxury and lifestyle brands. PPR owns and operates the Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Puma brands among others.

Despite an effort to possibly sell one of its biggest e-commerce businesses, the web continues to generate more sales for PPR.

For the six months ended June 30, PPR reported:

  • Web sales increased 11.3% to 1.18 billion euros ($1.67 billion) from 1.06 billion euros ($1.50 billion).
  • Total sales increased 7.3% to 7.21 billion euros ($10.3 billion) from 6.72 billion euros ($9.60 billion).
  • Sales for Redcats decreased 1.2% to 1.67 billion euros ($2.37 billion) from 1.69 billion ($2.40 billion). PPR didn’t break out any web sales metrics.
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