Confirming recent speculation, the Hamm-Reno Group is officially for sale. The Rothschild Bank has reportedly received a formal mandate to talk to about 90 potential strategic and institutional investors that have already expressed their interest in buying the company, which is also known as the HR Group. The process should be completed before the end of this year or during the first quarter of 2016.

Textilwirtschaft says the sale is motivated by the desire of one of the shareholders, Siegfried Kaske, to give up his 50 percent stake in the HR Group. The two other shareholders are the Hamm family with a stake of 45 percent and Matthias Händle, chief executive of the German-based retail group, with 5 percent of the shares. They have agreed to put up their holdings for sale, too. 

Händle has been warning for some time about the need for further consolidation in the German shoe retail sector. The recent mergers and acquisition activity around Görtz, Leiser and Leder & Schuh proves that he was right. About a year ago, the HR Group offered to acquire a 75.1 percent stake in Görtz in order to obtain bigger economies of scale in the competition with new entrants such as Zalando and bigger shoe retailers such as Deichmann and the ANWR Group, but the deal didn't get through because the Görtz family wanted to keep control over its eponymous chain. A Munich-based investment firm, Afinum, then acquired a 40 percent stake in Görtz.

Positioned in the medium segment of the market, the HR Group makes an annual turnover of around €600 million at retail and wholesale. The retail network has been streamlined in the last couple of years, reducing the number of Reno stores from about 750 to 530. A new, integrated online shop has just started up to new provide omni-channel solutions.

In the wholesale segment, the HR Group has footwear licenses for the Bama, Chiemsee, Mercedes and Sansibar brands. It also supplies private label footwear sold at around 1,700 locations in department stores, cash & carry markets, apparel retailers and supermarket chains in different countries.

The former Hamm group has been involved in the shoe sector for 125 years. It started up in 1888 by selling leather to shoemakers. It began to act as a German shoe distributor after World War II, developing subsequently a flourishing licensing business. Reno began to trade as a mail order operation in 1977. The two companies merged in 2005.