Private equity firm Duke Street has abandoned interest in acquiring the Bonmarche business from value fashion group Peacocks.

Duke Street had been engaged in exclusive discussions to take control of 390-store Bonmarche and had even lined up a chief executive – former Henleys Clothing boss David Inglis - but sources familair with the situation say that talks ended yesterday without agreement.

The reason for the collapse of the negotiations is not known. However there has been speculation that the disparate interests of Peacocks’ owners, including hedge funds Och Ziff and Perry Capital and management led by chief executive Richard Kirk, added complexity to the situation.

Peacocks, which in May hired former Asda boss Allan Leighton as chairman, brought in DC Advisory Partners in March to consider options for 390-store Bonmarche, which targets women shoppers over 45.

It is not known whether Peacocks will now solicit interest in Bonmarche from other potential buyers. However a source familiar with Peacocks’ thinking said the retailer sees plenty of development potential in Bonmarche and would therefore happily retain it.

No comment was available from Peacocks or Duke Street.