Ethel Austin administrator Menzies Corporate Restructuring revealed it has received 30 to 40 expressions of interest from potential bidders for the value fashion chain.

Menzies Corporate Restructuring partner Phil Duffy told Times Online that it hopes to find a buyer for the business to save more than 2,400 jobs within three weeks.

He said: “We’re sending out non-disclosure agreements today. In total, I expect to hear from up to 100 interested parties, of which 10 will probably be more serious than the rest.

“Retail is going through tough times, but maybe it’s a good time to buy. There is no definite date at the moment, but we are hoping something can be agreed in the next two to three weeks.”

Ethel Austin went into administration last week and Menzies announced plans to close 33 stores out of the 301-strong store estate and cut 440 jobs. It is understood that the remaining staff are being paid on a weekly basis.