Carlyle Group Inc. is weighing new plans to sell Hunkemoller, the Dutch lingerie and swimwear retailer, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. private equity firm is working with investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. on a potential sale of the business next year, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

No final decisions have been made and Carlyle could still decide to keep Hunkemoller, according to the people. Representatives for Carlyle and JPMorgan declined to comment.

Carlyle agreed to buy Hunkemoller, which began life in 1886 as a specialist retailer of corsets and bustles in Amsterdam, from PAI Partners in late 2015. It previously looked at selling the business in 2017 but discussions did not result in a deal.

Hunkemoller operates more than 940 stores across western Europe, according to its website. The company saw sales rise around 5% to 375 million euros ($445 million) in the year through January 2020, financial statements show.

The retail sector has since been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, which has forced shops to close their doors amid national lockdowns across Europe. In May, L Brands Inc. had to cancel a deal that would have given private equity firm Sycamore Partners control of lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret.

Source: Bloomberg

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