Mid-market furniture retailer Dwell has made Neil McCausland chairman and is considering bidding for all or parts of Habitat if it is put up for sale by Ikea owner ICAF Antillen.
McCausland is also chairman of upmarket shoe brand Kurt Geiger and value retailer T J Hughes.
Dwell managing director Aamir Ahmad said: “We’re building up the business and want a really strong calibre of people.”
He described Habitat as a “very established brand”, adding: “We’ll see if we can get it back to making money.”
Ahmad said he is looking at ways to raise finance. “There are a number of partners we are talking to already,” he said.
In a statement, Habitat chief executive Mark Saunders said ICAF Antillen “has commenced a strategic review which may or may not lead to a sale of the company”.
Ahmad said if Dwell does not buy Habitat in its entirety, it may be interested in certain stores. “It would be a good way for us to expand,” he said.
Lazard has been appointed as financial adviser to ICAF. In the year to March 30, 2008, Habitat’s losses widened to £13.4m.
However, some potential private equity investors questioned Habitat’s relevance in today’s market.
In the year to January 31, Dwell’s pre-tax profits were flat at £326,818, and revenue soared 54% to £24.8m.