South African retail group The Foschini Group (TFG), the owner of Phase Eight and Whistles, has entered into an agreement to acquire British women's wear retailer Hobbs for an undisclosed sum.

The addition of Hobbs to TFG's existing portfolio of brands, which was announced this morning (7 November), will further position TFG as a leading fashion retailer not only in South Africa, but internationally, and will enhance its online presence, says the group.

Hobbs currently has 140 outlets comprising standalone stores and concessions in the UK and is stocked in selected department stores across the world including Bloomingdales in the US and Wohrl and SinLeffers in Germany. It also sells its merchandise online in 49 countries.

The move ends months of speculation that private equity firm 3i was exploring a sale of Hobbs after rumours started in January of this year.

Hobbs to be sold for around GBP80m?

TFG said the agreement is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions normal for a transaction of this nature.