Fashion retailer Giordano International Ltd has denied that it is in talks to sell a substantial stake in the company to one of its three rivals.

The South China Morning Post reported over the weekend that Hong Kong-listed Esprit Holdings, Spanish retailer Zara, and Tokyo-listed Fast Retailing want to link up with Giordano to increase their exposure to the Chinese mainland.

But Giordano today (4 June) told the Hong Kong Stock Exchange it was not aware of any reasons why its share price had increased recently, and that "there are no negotiations or agreements relating to intended acquisitions or realisations."

Giordano, which has 1,793 shops across Asia, including 741 in China, last week released better than expected first quarter sales figures, with revenues increasing by 15.3% year-on-year. Its best performance was in mainland China, where sales were up 29.4% and same-store sales rose 22.1%.

The Hong Kong based company received bid interest from Fast Retaining, Asia's largest-listed garment seller and operator of the Uniqlo chain, last year.

The Japanese casualwear chain mulled buying a stake in Giordano in August, but dropped the idea the following month saying that Giordano had been "reluctant to enter into any meaningful dialogue."

Institutions hold a combined 51% share in Giordano, making it vulnerable to a takeover according to analysts.