Christmas shopping UK
House of Fraser Eyes 2014 IPO as French Takeover Speculation Heat Up (Reuters)

House of Fraser is planning to list by the end of the year as the speculation over a takeover from French rival Galeries Lafayette heats up.

According to a Times newspaper report, chief executive officer of the department store chain, John King said that House of Fraser plans to list by the end of 2014.

"We kicked it off before Christmas," said King.

However, King would not comment on negotiations with the Galeries Lafayette, despite months of speculation that the 160-year-old group would move out of a decade of private ownership.

King added that company remained focused on the IPO after previous attempts at a possible trade sale failed.

On 2 January, House of Fraser revealed that it has had its best ever Christmas trading period following a surge in online shopping sales.

The British department stores group said like-for-like sales excluding VAT for the three weeks to 28 December rose 7.3%, with online sales up 57.7%.

House of Fraser has 61 stores in Britain and Ireland and has annual sales of around £1.2bn (€1.46bn, $2bn).