Tesco is reportedly considering offloading the Giraffe restaurant chain that it owns as it turns its attention to rebuilding its core UK supermarket business instead.
The company is said to have “quietly sounded out” private equity firms and other potential bidders about their interest with a view to considering a sale.
Giraffe was acquired for £49m three years ago during Philip Clarke’s reign as chief executive as part of a strategy to diversify the supermarket’s operations and create all-encompassing leisure and dining spaces for shoppers.
Tesco has developed the business over the last few years and increased the Giraffe store count to 60. Last year it opened more than 10 stores, including at key supermarket sites and airports.
But sources told Sky News that Dave Lewis, who replaced Clarke last year, wants to continue to dispose of businesses and brands which either dilute Tesco’s margins or act as a distraction from its principal revival mission.
It said that a sale of Giraffe was not yet a certainty, but would depend upon the terms of a deal.
Sky News said that Giraffe had lost money in recent years, partly as a result of the cost of opening new sites.
Accounts filed at Companies House show that the restaurant chain lost more than £4m in the 53 weeks to March 1, 2015.
A Tesco spokesman said it didn’t comment on “rumour and speculation”.