Online upmarket private sales site Brand Alley has appointed Merril Lynch to raise €100m (£87m) to fund acquisitions of fledgling businesses in the sector.

The French company sells discounted designer clothing, accessories and homewares via ‘flash sales’ over one or two days.

Founder and chief executive Sven Lung told the Sunday Times the war chest would be used to acquire businesses at it seeks to expand. The retailer is expected to be worth £1.8bn this year.

Brand Alley is a joint venture between Lung and News International. The business, which is loss making, saw turnover in the UK surge 101% to £18.1m in 2010.