Debenhams and Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group are said to be the front runners to buy the Principles chain from Mosaic Fashions.
According to The Times newspaper Debenhams is keen to pick up Principles, the middle market womenswear brand, because it is a significant concession partner in its stores. Principles is thought to generate around £60 million of sales within Debenhams annually. A deal would give Debenhams more control over the brand, which has been struggling to match competitors on product, and would also give it huge margin gains if it effectively became one of the department store’s own labels.
Similarly Debenhams would not like a rival department store to get hold of the Principles brand - House of Fraser has been linked to Principles in recent weeks although this has been vehemently denied.
Sir Philip Green was first linked to Principles last month. However it is thought Green would require a payment to take Principles out of the Mosaic Fashions group, which is in the process of refinancing discussions with its bank, Kaupthing. But if Green were to buy Principles, it would fit neatly with his Wallis womenswear chain.
Mosaic Fashions confirmed it was considering offloading its Principles chain yesterday after it received a number of approaches for the brand. Mosaic Fashions is also selling its Shoe Studio Group footwear concession business but it stressed it had no further plans to break up the group, which also owns Oasis, Karen Millen, Coast and Warehouse.