C. Banner International Holdings, a major Chinese footwear manufacturer, retailer and distributor, has acquired a 51 percent controlling stake in House of Fraser, the British department store chain, from another Chinese company, Nanjing Cenbest. House of Fraser generated sales of £1.3 billion (€1.5bn-$1.8bn) last year through its 59 stores in the U.K. and Ireland, but it is struggling to compete with online retailers. It's the second major foreign diversification move for C. Banner, which had acquired the famous Hamleys toy store in London in 2015. Quoted on the Hong Kong stock exchange, C. Banner describes itself as the leading retailer of mid-to-premium women's casual and formal shoes in China. It is also a major producer of women's shoes. It is also the Chinese licensee of Naturalizer and distributes brands such as Ash, JC and United Nude. It recently set up a joint venture with Steven Madden for the distribution of its products in China, with a plan to open 150 mono-brand stores by the end of 2020.

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