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Irish retailer Avoca 'poised for £36m sale'

The family owners of Irish accessories and womenswear business Avoca are in talks to sell it for an estimated €50m (£36m).

Managing director Simon Pratt told Drapers the company had been approached by “several parties”. “We have had quite a number of approaches from prospective purchasers and we are considering our options.”

US food services and work uniform business Aramark is understood to be the frontrunner, according to reports in the Irish media.

The reports claim a group of executives from Aramark took a tour around some of Avoca’s stores last month. When contacted by Drapers, Aramark declined to comment.

Avoca, which began as a weaving mill in 1723, is owned by siblings Simon, Amanda, Ivan and Vanessa Pratt alongside their parents and has a turnover of €55m (£39m). It comprises 11 stores, some of which have cafes, an eponymous brand and a mill in County Wicklow.

Amanda left at the end of 2014 and is understood to be advising on a revamp of Bewley’s cafe on Dublin’s Grafton Street.

Late last year, Simon, who is managing director, sparked interest in Avoca when he told Irish paper The Sunday Business Post that he had no intention of passing control of the business to the next generation.

“It would be almost inevitable that there would be conflict, and the idea that my kids could end up not speaking to my sister’s kids is just appalling,” he explained.

@JillGeoghegan

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