Retailer Alexon is to sell its Dolcis shoe chain for a modest GBP2.7m (US$5.26m) to Hamsard 3032 Limited, confirming rumours picked up by just-style earlier today (18 December).

Hamsard is backed by a group of investors led by entrepreneur John Kinnaird, whose last business was the Warner Bros Studio Stores chain, which went into administration back in 2004.

The buyer is paying cash for the footwear firm and will also pay Alexon certain amounts related to profits gained upon the sale of certain Dolcis properties to third parties. These amounts are expected to total GBP0.3m.

Senior debt is being provided by Epic Investment Partners, which specialises in turning around floundering companies.

The well-known Dolcis chain has lost favour on the high street in recent years, partly because of heightened competition from new ranges launched by apparel favourites.

"The deal would be good for Alexon," Seymour Pierce analyst Richard Ratner told just-style when buyout rumours were brewing this morning.

Ratner said he was not convinced that Alexon's acquisition strategy had ever been a good idea.

Moreover, he said Dolcis would be "difficult to turn around" because of its troublesome trading, which Ratner said had been impacted by unfavourable weather this year.

A spokeswoman for Alexon told just-style that nobody could comment on the deal at the moment.

Alexon reported an 87% profit plummet for the first half of the current fiscal year. It blamed this on Dolcis' poor performance, weakness in men's wear and failed new brand Mandolin, which it is closing down.

For the year ended 28 January 2006, Dolcis racked up operating losses of GBP0.7m and had gross assets of GBP18.1m plus net assets of GBP6.7m. For the six months ended 29 July, it reported an operating loss of GBP2.4m, gross assets of GBP20.3m and net assets of GBP5.1m.

Dolcis has about 67 stores in the UK, 132 UK concessions and six European concessions.