Retailing rivalry was taken a step too far as a dispute between two department stores ended up in a street brawl between rival workers, reported the Chengsi Morning News.

It's claimed that the scuffle, which needed 100 policeman to break it up, broke out after 300 workers from the Zhengzhou Overseas Chinese department store in the Henan province gathered outside rival store Zijinshan for an allegedly company sponsored protest.

The fight, which injured several people on both sides, is said to have been over the Zijinshan store defaulting on a 5m yuan ($605,000) loan given to them in 1995 by the Zhengzhou store.

Under the conditions of the loan Zijinshan should have paid back the full amount with interest within a year but was forced to default due to financial difficulties in the company.

Zhengzhou staff lodged a petition for full repayment of the loan against Zijinshan, which resulted in the Zijinshan store agreeing to pay back the loan in monthly instalments of 5,000 yuan a month, considerably lower than the 100,000 yuan a month asked for by Zhengzhou.

Managers at the Zhengzhou store have claimed that the newspaper article was inaccurate. They admitted that an outburst had occurred but was not organised by the company and only involved a dozen retired and laid off staff rather than the 300 employees reported.