Harrods is "not for sale" the company said today after a media report that Mohamed Al Fayed had received an offer for the London store from a Gulf investor.
The iconic luxury retailer said it would not confirm or deny that any bid talks had taken place.
But Harrods did confirm it had written to staff to reassure them that the business would not be sold in the face of "gossip" about a potential deal.
The move follows reports on Sky News that Mr Al Fayed, who has owned the Knightsbridge store since 1985, had received an unsolicited approach from a major Gulf-based investor.
It is thought discussions took place until as recently as the last few days and the report said the business would be unlikely to be sold for much less than £2 billion.
Harrods spokesperson Katharine Witty said: "We do not comment on rumours or speculation. That is neither to confirm nor deny that any discussions have taken place to sell the store.
"However, for some time we have been aware of gossip circulating over a possible sale, and we took the decision to reassure staff this morning that this was not the case via a store-wide announcement.
"We are happy to confirm that Harrods is not for sale and is not being sold."