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Bestseller denies interest in Republic as deadline looms

Republic does not look set to be saved by Danish fashion giant Bestseller after it ruled out a rescue bid for the young fashion retailer, which collapsed into administration last week.

Bestseller, which operates brands including Jack & Jones and Vero Moda, was touted as a potential backer for Republic co-founder Carl Brewins, is vying to buy back the retailer he set up nearly 30 years ago.

A spokesman for Bestseller told Drapers sister title Retail Week the fashion giant has no interest in Republic.

Brewins was also understood to be in talks with private equity firms to secure backing, but it was unclear whether he is to submit his interest by today’s deadline.

Young fashion chain Blue Inc remains one of the frontrunners for the retailer, although administrator Ernst & Young has said it has received interest from a “double digit” number of parties.

Blue Inc, which is chaired by Sir Stuart Rose, wants to run the business as a 50-store operation.

Sports Direct, which acquired Republic’s key rival USC in 2011, could also be interested in snapping up some parts of the business.

Private equity firms including Better Capital and Apollo are also understood to be circling Republic.

An unidentified US retailer interested in establishing a UK presence is also believed to be eyeing around 40 of Republic’s stores.

Meanwhile restructuring specialist Gordon Brothers was brought in last week to trade the business. A “massive clearance” Sale was kickstarted in all stores last Friday with its website advertising “Everything Must Go”.

Ernst & Young has appointed property agent Savills to handle its store portfolio.

The bulk of Republic’s head office staff were axed last week when the retailer crashed into administration after trading declined over recent months.

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