Bonmarché has been bought by private equity firm Sun European Partners in a pre-pack administration deal.

Sun European bought 390 shops out of the 393-strong portfolio, but said it is likely it will have to shut 160 shops to “ensure that the company can be placed on a sound economic footing”. 1,400 jobs are at risk.

The private equity firm plans to keep 230 stores, as tipped by Retail Week last week. The deal saves 2,400 jobs and the pension scheme is “fully secured”, sources told Retail Week.

Sun European has not yet disclosed which stores are earmarked for closure and which stores will remain open. Three stores are still in the hands of the administrators.

Bonmarché’s sister chain Peacocks collapsed into administration on Wednesday. Administrators KPMG are still seeking a buyer for the business.

Sun European vice president Matthias Gundlach said: “Bonmarché is a great brand that operates in an attractive niche of the apparel sector that we know very well. 

“Thanks to its strong range with a good value-for-money proposition and a unique in-store service experience, Bonmarché has a loyal customer base of regular repeat buyers. 

“We are confident in putting a sustainable growth programme in place and working with the management team to develop the business successfully.”

It is the fourth retail deal in recent months for Sun European, which has acquired Alexon, Jacques Vert and American Golf.