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PPR Said Exploring Sale of Printemps

Will PPR, the French retail giant that owns Gucci Group, unload its Printemps department store chain?

PARIS — Will PPR, the French retail giant that owns Gucci Group, unload its Printemps department store chain?

Speculation is building here that a deal could be imminent. A spokesman for PPR declined Wednesday to comment on “rumors.”

But a possible divestiture of the chain’s 17 stores, including the Boulevard Haussmann flagship here, has garnered attention for about a year. And the market applauded the scenario of PPR selling the low-margin retailer to concentrate more on luxury holdings, as its stock gained 2.3 percent to close at 91.70 euros, or $114.90 at current exchange, in trading on the Paris Bourse.

France’s Galeries Lafayette, Italy’s Rinascente and Spain’s El Corte Ingles are considered potential bidders.

This story first appeared in the June 15, 2006 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.