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Principles sale uncertain

Confusion mounted surrounding the potential sale of Mosaic Fashions’ Principles chain as Drapers went to press.

Sources claimed that despite reports to the contrary, neither Debenhams nor Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group business had expressed serious interest in the middle-market womenswear chain.

Arcadia sold Principles to fashion group Rubicon in 2001. It was eventually bought by Mosaic Fashions in 2006. It is unclear whether Arcadia has exposure to selected Principles leases via privity of contract laws.

However, sources said Green was only likely to take over the Principles business, which is believed to be loss-making and which operates in one of the hardest hit sub-sectors in the recession, if he was offered a cash incentive by Mosaic Fashions.

Separately, sources close to Debenhams said a deal made little sense for the department store chain. “It already owns similar brands itself and it would lose all of the Principles business in rival department stores like John Lewis. Also, what would it do with its high street stores?”

Other sources suggested that restructuring specialists could be circling the chain.

Earlier this week, Mosaic confirmed it was considering selling its Principles business after it received a number of approaches for the brand. However, it said it had no plans to sell off any of its other brands which include Oasis, Karen Millen and Warehouse.

A source close to the situation said: “Principles on its own looks a very difficult deal to do. With another brand bolted on it might be more viable.”

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