Duke Street, the private equity group, has lined up a new chief executive for womenswear retailer Bonmarché, should it complete a purchase of the fashion chain.

According to reports, David Inglis, the former boss of Henleys Clothing, who is working as a consultant at Duke Street advising on the potential purchase of the 387-store Bonmarché chain, could be in line to head up the business should a sale go ahead.

In March Peacock Group, the owners of Bonmarché, appointed DC Advisory Partners to look at options for the fashion chain which targets women aged over 45.

Duke Street is now understood to be in exclusive talks about acquiring the retailer, although it is unclear how much the private equity firm would be willing to pay for the business.

In May the Peacocks chain confirmed that it had appointed former Asda chief executive Allan Leighton as chairman.

Retail sales at Bonmarché in the 53 weeks to April 3, 2010 rose 2.9% to £194.2m - a 0.8% like-for-like drop. Pre-tax profits were £5.5m compared with £936,000 the previous year. It is understood to have performed well in the year just ended.

Duke Street’s investments include discount department store chain The Original Factory Shop. It only takes majority stakes in businesses with headquarters in the UK and France, with an enterprise value of between €50m (£44m) and €300m (£264m).

Peacock Group bought Bonmarché from previous owners the Chima brothers in 2002 for more than £50m.