French apparel group PPR is changing its name to Kering as it looks to position itself as a luxury and sportswear business.

The company said the name change will be subject to approval by shareholders at its annual general meeting on 18 June.

Kering can be pronounced as "caring" in English, which, the company said expresses its culture of taking care of its brand, people, stakeholders and the environment. 

Its emblem, the owl, represents "vision, as well as being a sign of wisdom", PPR added, while the 'Empowering Imagination' signature shows that imagination is at the centre of the business.

Since 2005, PPR has been transforming its business. It has gone from a conglomerate focused primarily on European distribution activities to a "cohesive, integrated and international group" that will have left the international sector completely in a few months.

Its focus is on apparel and accessories, across two fast growing segments - luxury and sport & lifestyle brands. The group's brand portfolio includes Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, Christopher Kane, Puma and Volcom.

PPR has been slowly divesting brands, including some from its Redcats mail order unit, after it failed to find a buyer for the whole business. 

The Redcats division entered an agreement last month to sell its Scandinavian apparel and homeware brands Ellos and Jotex to Nordic Capital Fund VII for EUR275m (US$365m).

Last month, PPR also completed the sale of its OneStopPlus US plus sized clothing business to private equity firms Charlesbank Capital Partners and Webster Capital. 

"Changing our identity is the logical and necessary outcome of the group's transformation. More than just the change in scope or activity that this new name reflects, it expresses the group's new identity and our corporate culture," said chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault.

"Kering is a name with meaning, a name that expresses both our purpose and our corporate vision. Strengthened by this new identity, we shall continue to serve our brands to liberate their potential for growth."

PPR, which stands for Pinault-Printemps Redoute, sold the Printemps department store chain to Deutsche Bank's real estate arm, Rreef, and investment group Borletti for EUR1.1bn in 2006.