New Look founder Tom Singh is believed to have postponed the sale of its French basics chain Mim after kicking off a review of the New Look business.

A buyer for Mim is thought to have been waiting in the wings and New Look is believed to have been considering a sale of the 300-store value chain for some time.

However, Singh – who was parachuted in as executive chairman last month following the ousting of chief executive Carl McPhail – is thought to have postponed plans for the sale, which would have freed up management to focus on fixing New Look’s struggling UK business.

Mim director-general Xavier Wilmes is said to want to lead a management buyout of the business, which operates in France and Belgium.

New Look acquired Mim – which targets a younger and more value-conscious shopper than New Look and has an average store size of 2,000 sq ft – in June 2003. It has remained profitable but its sales performance has been mixed.

One source said: “Mim is performing well at the moment. Over the years [under New Look’s ownership] it has been up and down.

“It [a sell off] has been talked about over the years and it was deliberately kept fairly separate as a business so if New Look ever needed to sell it off it would be easy. The buying, merchandising and design departments are run separately.”

New Look declined to comment.