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LONDON – Shares of British fashion chain, French Connection, rose by 20 per cent – to their highest value since August 2016 – following news that the business would sell its 75 per cent stake in women’s clothing brand Toast to Dutch firm Bestseller United, which owns the Jack & Jones brand. French Connection said it will potentially restart paying dividends if the disposal goes through and the company returns to profitability.

“We are proud to welcome Toast into our Bestseller family,” the company CEO and owner, Anders Holch Povlsen said.

“As fashion retailers we have been impressed with the business for some time, and our meetings with the management team have confirmed the potential and documented that it is a solid company with sound values and great people.”

Since its establishment over 20 years ago, Toast has developed a reputation for re-energising traditional textiles within women’s clothing and homeware. The company has 13 stores throughout the United Kingdom, while its products are also sold via wholesale and online channels.

Toast will become part of Bestseller’s family of brands but will remain an independent unit with its existing employees that will continue to run the Toast company.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed within four to six weeks.

In its most recent financial update, French Connection saw same store sales rise by 0.8 per cent while company losses shrunk to £.2.3m from £5.3m previously.

Reuters reports that the fee for the sale is £23.3m.

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