Phase Eight and Whistles owner The Foschini Group (TFG) has acquired upmarket womenswear retailer Hobbs for an undisclosed sum.

Hobbs was put up for sale by private equity owner 3i in January with an asking price of £80m.

Foschini was linked to a bid in July but it was understood at the time that the group was not willing to pay the asking price.

Hobbs, whose chief executive Meg Lustman was parachuted in to oversee the turnaround of the business in 2015, posted an increase in full-year profits and sales earlier this year.

The fashion chain’s gross profit advanced 8.7% to £76.2m in the 12 months to January 28, while sales climbed at a similar rate of 9% to £119.5m during the period.

Lustman said: “This acquisition by TFG represents a further step on our journey to develop a truly successful international and omnichannel Hobbs brand.

“With TFG’s existing experience managing desirable brands, and their deep understanding of the sector, we are thrilled with today’s announcement and their commitment to assist us to drive our future growth.”

TFG boss Ben Barnett added: “Hobbs is a strong British brand with rich design heritage. Meg Lustman and her team have successfully repositioned and reinvigorated the brand, offering an excellent platform for further growth.

“We share their ambitions, not only in terms of maximising the success of their well-established UK presence, but also in their strategic approach towards leveraging the international appeal of the brand, via their physical store portfolio, carefully aligned concession partners and evolving e-commerce proposition.”