Analysts believe M&S is ready to take share from its fashion rivals

Fashion retailers and analysts gave a mixed reaction to the possible revival of Marks & Spencer under new control or ownership, and the likelihood of tougher competition.

Broker Investec noted: 'Based upon the likelihood of trading the estate more aggressively, especially in younger fashion areas, there could be some trading risk to Next, Matalan and Mothercare - all of which have similar product categories and customer mix.' No comment was available from the trio.

Zara managing director Mike Shearwood believed a revival at M&S would boost business. 'A lot of people have been shopping out of town. If M&S were to be revived, it would help bring people onto the high street.'

East managing director Jonathan Keating disagreed: 'I don't think it's going to bring more people onto the high street. It (M&S) is struggling because it's hard to sell designer-led garments with an M&S label on it. They have got a real problem to do with the brand.'

Former Moss Bros chief executive Adrian Wright said that whatever the outcome of Philip Green's bid, M&S is poised for recovery.

He said: 'For the industry, a strong M&S is good. It's good for the customer because competitors will have to sharpen up their act. It's bad news for UK manufacturers because M&S will certainly move all production overseas.'