Wires

Otto eyes partial sale of France's 3 Suisses

FRANKFURT, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Germany's Otto isconsidering selling parts of its French mail-order retailer 3Suisses, which has suffered a slide in sales, a spokesman forthe company said.

"We have involved banks and are currently examining themarket to see which parts could be sold," an Otto spokesman toldReuters late on Wednesday.

He said a sale of Otto's entire 51 percent stake in 3Suisses, which has annual sales of about 2 billion euros ($2.58billion), was not the primary goal but could not be ruled out.

The move comes as French retail and luxury group PPR

struggles to sell its Redcats mail order business andweeks after Germany's largest mail-order pharmacy, Sanicare,filed for insolvency.

PPR already tried to divest the company last year but pulledthe sale when it became evident it would not get its preferredprice of 1.5 billion euros.

Unlisted Otto, Germany's last major mail-order company afterthe insolvency of Neckermann and Quelle, has been building itsstake in 3 Suisse since 1974. French family Mulliez holds 46percent of the company, while the rest is owned by employees.

The Mulliez family, which also controls French retailerAuchan, was not immediately available for comment.

German daily Financial Times Deutschland earlier citedcompany sources as saying Otto last booked a loss of more than50 million euros from its holding in 3 Suisses, following a 5.6percent decline in annual sales.

($1 = 0.7751 euros)

(Reporting by Andreas Kroener; Additional reporting by AstridWendlandt; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

((maria.sheahan@thomsonreuters.com)(+49 69 7565 1286 ReutersMessaging: maria.sheahan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: OTTO FRANCE/