Pureplay fashion retailer Boohoo has successfully raised close to £200m in less than 24 hours as it eyes already struggling high street brands stricken further by the coronavirus.

The retailer announced today that, less than 24 hours after launching the fundraising to tap shareholders, it had closed the bookbuild and raised £197.7m in a deal led by Zeus Capital. 

Boohoo launched the fundraising round just three weeks after it reported to have more than £240m of net cash at the end of February.

While other fashion brands, including pureplay rival Asos, have raised cash since the coronavirus emerged, Boohoo is the first to explicitly link such a move with acquisitions.

Boohoo said it would “take advantage of numerous opportunities that are likely to emerge in the global fashion industry over the coming months” and was reviewing a number of possible merger and acquisition deals.

The retailer has a strong track record of acquiring struggling businesses and turning them around, such as Nasty Gal, MissPap and most recently Coast and Karen Millen.

Boohoo chief executive John Lyttle said the pureplay would look at deals in Europe and the US. “Retail is not the best place to be at the moment and we think there will be a lot of opportunities for us,” he said.

He also said that, as with its most recent acquisitions of Karen Millen and Coast, Boohoo would look to remain a pureplay retailer and so would be unlikely to keep a brand’s shops if they bought them.