Department store chain House of Fraser said early talks over a potential sale of the company have stopped.

House of Fraser told just-style in February it was in "very preliminary takeover talks" after being approached by private equity firm Apax Partners.

It is believed both parties were happy with the decision to end discussions.

House of Fraser said preliminary same-store sales for the 6 weeks since 29 January were down 1.4%, while total sales, which include the Beatties and Jenners acquisitions, grew 16.2%.

The company previously announced that it expected trading conditions to be difficult for at least the first half of 2006.

Rival company Debenhams was also rumoured to have a buyout interest in House of Fraser.