House of Fraser could nearly double its number of stores with plans to open up to 50 branches in China following its takeover by a Nanjing-based conglomerate.
The department store chain, which was valued at £480m by the deal, currently has 60 sites in the UK and Ireland – including the anchor department store in Belfast's Victoria Square – and new owners Sanpower plan to exploit what it calls the "iconic heritage brand" with a programme of international expansion.
However it is not known whether the name House of Fraser will be used at all the stores, with the possibility that some might use another name. One of those being considered is 'Oriental Fraser'.
A source close to the deal confirmed the chain would now be opening stores in China over the next few years, with 50 as a target.
Sanpower chairman Yuan Yafei said: "House of Fraser is a strong and iconic heritage brand with exceptional fashion credentials. We see significant opportunities to develop the business further in international markets."
Announcing the deal at the weekend, he talked of plans to "unlock House of Fraser's potential to become a leading global brand".
House of Fraser already has one franchise store in Abu Dhabi.
Sanpower is expected to set out further details of its purchase of an 89% stake in the 165-year-old business in an announcement to the Shanghai stock exchange.
The chain generates sales of £1.2bn a year.