Retail Food Group has pointed to a news interview with its executive chairman after being asked to explain a “significant increase” in trading volumes and a nearly 40 per cent lift in its share price.

The embattled Gloria Jean’s, Michel’s Patisserie and Donut King franchisor told the ASX it was not aware of any price-sensitive information that could have sent its share price to a near two-month high of 23.5 cents on Monday – a 38 per cent increase on Friday’s close.

RFG did, however, note comments made by its executive chairman Peter George in a article on Friday afternoon that referred to the company’s strategy to rebuild after a damaging two-year period.

“RFG notes the publication of media articles in the News Limited press on (Friday) in relation to the implementation of the turnaround strategy for RFG, previously advised to the market,” the company said in response to Monday’s price query.

“RFG confirms that it is exploring a range of options to reduce debt, including the potential sale of non-core assets as well as equity and other debt funding proposals. Discussions in relation to these matters are advanced and a further update will be provided to the market in due course.”

Shares in the Crust Pizza and Pizza Capers brand owner were still 26.47 per cent higher at 21.5 cents at 1508 AEST.

ASX Listings Compliance advisers noted a significant increase in RFG securities traded on Monday and a share price surge from 14 cents at Friday’s close.

The price query is standard practice that seeks to explain irregular share price movements.

RFG’s share price has collapsed during the past two years after it was accused of badly mistreating franchisees, and a parliamentary inquiry this year said management had been either “unethical” or “incompetent”.

The inquiry into franchising’s final report said Retail Food Group had damaged the reputation of franchising in Australia and should be investigated by the competition regulator, the corporate regulator and the Australian Taxation Office.

The company’s shares had been worth more than $7 at the start of 2017 and were still valued at $4.40 in December that year.

In May, RFG also acknowledged extending use-by dates on food products but said it was withdrawing them from sale by franchisees.