DUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT Aug 14 German retailer
Douglas has launched a sale of its Thalia book stores division,
which is facing stiff competition from Amazon, two
people familiar with the deal said.
Financial investors are seen as likely buyers, but a deal is
still a way off yet, the sources told Reuters on Thursday, after
German trade magazine Lebensmittel Zeitung reported that the
group was close to striking a deal.
Since being taken private by buyout group Advent last year,
Douglas, which also runs stores selling beauty products,
jewellery and clothes, has decided to focus on the beauty part
of the business, buying up French perfumeries chain Nocibe and
selling its confectionary stores.
Thalia, with around 300 book stores in Germany, Austria and
Switzerland, has struggled to deal with the rise of online
retailers like Amazon.
A spokeswoman for Douglas said it was following an active
portfolio strategy and was considering its options.
She confirmed that supervisory board chairman Joern Kreke,
whose son Henning Kreke is CEO of Douglas, would be standing
down at the end of September, as also reported by Lebensmittel
(Reporting by Mathias Inverardi and Alexander Huebner; writing
by Victoria Bryan; editing by Arno Schuetze and Tom Pfeiffer)