High Street Chain Bathstore Groomed For Sale
Another prominent UK high street chain is poised to change hands with the sale of Bathstore, the specialist bathrooms retailer.
Sky News understands that Endless, the investment fund which acquired Bathstore in May 2012, has decided to explore a sale of the company, which operates more than 150 shops across the country.
Rothschild, the investment bank, has been appointed to sound out interest from potential buyers.
Bathstore was acquired for just £15m from Wolseley, the FTSE-100 plumbing group, which had been struggling to satisfy the City with its financial performance and had decided that the retailer was a non-core asset.
Watford-based Bathstore made a profit of £6.5m on sales of £95m in 2011, a reasonable result at a time when the UK economy was relatively weak.
In a statement, a spokesman for Endless said: "We are pleased with the performance of Bathstore since we made our investment in May 2012.
"There has been encouraging inbound interest in the business and we continue to work with management to support its growth."
It is thought unlikely that Endless will pursue a stock market listing for Bathstore, and will instead opt for a private sale of the business.
However, that will make Bathstore a relative rarity as the owners of thousands of high street shops examine flotations in an effort to take advantage of strong equity markets and a rebounding economy.
Fat Face, House of Fraser, Pets At Home and Poundland are among the private equity-backed retailers looking to go public this year.
:: Watch Sky News live on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.