Republic founder Carl Brewins is understood to be considering buying back the business he started as a market stall nearly thirty years ago.
Brewins, who left Republic last year, is understood to be pairing up with a private equity backer to revive the retailer, Retail Week reports.
Republic collapsed into administration yesterday. Ernst & Young has already axed 150 head office staff. Republic employs 2,500 staff.
Meanwhile, it is thought that private equity firms including Better Capital and Apollo, which last year bought jeweller Aurum, are interested in snapping up the 121-store retailer.
An unidentified US retailer has also emerged as a potential bidder to give it a UK presence. It is thought to be eyeing around 40 of Republic’s stores.
Young fashion retailer Blue Inc is also vying to buy Republic, although it is thought it will operate it as a 50-store chain.