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Wednesday, 1 March, 2000, 14:07 GMT
Iceland eyes Bhs

Bhs has already linked up with Iceland
UK food retailer Iceland is in talks with Storehouse to buy its Bhs division.

The talks are at an early stage and no offer has been made yet, but Iceland and Bhs are already partners in a successful experiment that combines the Bhs brand with Iceland's food retail experience.

A prototype store in Birmingham sold Iceland products under the the Bhs Food name.

The two firms now have agreed to open an additional 10 Bhs Food stores by the end of March 2000.

Established Bhs stores - selling everything from furniture to baby clothing - will be able to open food sections featuring Iceland products.

The deal runs until December 2006 and gives Iceland an option to open up to 90 further food stores by the end of 2001.

Opportunity for Iceland

An Iceland spokesman said a tie-up with Bhs would be "a great opportunity" for his company.

News of the talks between Iceland and Storehouse could spark a bid for the troubled stores group from other interested parties.

Philip Green, the retail entrepreneur previously interested in buying Marks & Spencer, has been rumoured to be interested in part or all of the Storehouse group.

Storehouse said on Friday it had received a number of bid approaches which could lead to an offer for its Bhs or Mothercare units, or for the entire company.

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