French department store group Galeries Lafayette and Chinese conglomerate Wanda are in race to acquire department store chain Printemps for €1.6bn.

Lafayette lost an acquisition bid for the chain previously in 2006 and is keen on purchasing the brand.

The acquisition is expected to boost Lafayette’s retail space to 110,000m2 in central Paris.

Following the acquisition, the chain is aiming to develop a global retail brand with annual sales of €6.5bn.

Chinese conglomerate Wanda has also expressed its interest in acquiring the chain that would boost its business in the new market.

Wanda senior vice-president Zhanghong Hu stated that the company is interested in acquiring the chain if it is up for sale.

Hu added that the firm is looking to invest in the European hotel and retail sector but an acquisition of a department store chain would depend on factors including the quality of the balance sheet and any need to restructure the business.

"There are many opportunities for us on the French market but we need to study it more thoroughly. We are only at the beginning.

"We are looking primarily at hotel management companies and department store chains," concluded Hu.

Besides Printemps, the Chinese company is looking to acquire French Accor hotel group and Carrefour supermarket.