House of Fraser, a UK-based department store group, is to expand its footprint in China by opening around 50 stores.

The move by the retailer came soon after it sold 89% of its stake to Chinese conglomerate Sanpower for £480m.

The company is initially planning to open 20 stores, followed by others gradually, and intends to use the brand name ‘Oriental Fraser’ for the new stores.

Sanpower said it wanted to expand the iconic heritage brand overseas, especially in China.

The group already has 60 stores in the UK and Ireland, and one store in Abu Dhabi.

Sanpower Group chairman Yuan Yafei said House of Fraser is a strong and iconic heritage brand in the UK and abroad, with exceptional fashion credentials.

"We have always been looking to invest in strong brands like House of Fraser, and take them to the next level of growth," Yafei added.

House of Fraser added that the transaction will not affect the 7,300 staff and 12,000 concession employees working at its 60 stores.

House of Fraser executive chairman Don McCarthy said the deal would give them a strong platform to develop oversees.