Francois Pinault, controller of French retailing group Pinault-Printemps-Redoute has announced that he has appointed his son, Francois-Henri, as heir to his controlling 45 per cent of the company.

The move should help to clarify the future of Pinault's retailing empire, although he did state that the decision to appoint his son as successor should not been seen as a sign that he was about to retire.

Francois-Henri had been widely tipped as being the next to take charge following his earlier appointment as joint deputy managing director of PPR in charge of the group's online projects.