East chief executive Andrew Webb has left the womenswear retailer following the acquisition of a 25 per cent stake by Indian retail giant Fabindia.

Indian ethnicwear retailer Fabindia, which has annual revenues of INR300bn (£4.17bn), bought the holding for an undisclosed amount and is understood to have an option to acquire the remainder in three years.

In the year to January 31, 2007, East made a pre-tax loss of£2.3m. Figures for the year to January 31, 2008 were due to be filed at Companies House as Retail Week went to press. It has 77 stores and 18 concessions in John Lewis.

Fabindia has 97 stores across India and branches in west Asia, Italy and the Middle East. It has about 35 joint ventures in India and its employees hold 51 per cent stakes in each.

Fabindia’s ethical retailing stance and ethnicwear focus complements East’s and its global stores network could allow the UK retailer to expand overseas.

Fabindia’s stakebuilding follows speculation that East was touted for sale last year and had run into difficulties paying rent. In 2007, East received an injection of cash by its backers – its three founders and Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners – to revitalise the brand.

It is unclear if shareholdings have altered.

East did not return calls as Retail Week went to press.