Italian fashion company Aeffe Group has denied reports it is ready to sell its underperforming footwear unit Pollini.

A spokesperson for the company told just-style: "There is no mandate for the sale of Pollini".

It follows a Reuters news report that Aeffe had mandated investment bank Mediobanca to sell the footwear operator, which dragged down earnings last year.

Rumours of Pollini's sale first surfaced in the Italian press during June, but the company is "scouting new initiatives" and not selling up, the spokesperson added.

Aeffe's other brands include Alberta Ferretti, Moschino and JP Gaultier. The company posted a net loss of EUR10m in the first half of the year, compared to a net income of EUR6m in 1H 2008, citing the "negative performance of the Pollini division".

It said at the time that management had already taken actions to "rationalise operating costs' for the Pollini division".

By Joe Ayling, news editor.