The previous joint owner of New Look, Apax Partners, and former custodian of Phones 4U, BC Partners, have both lodged bids for Shop Direct.

The interested buyers are among just a handful of bidders, Sky News reports, after concerns around consumer confidence and Shop Direct’s price tag eroded investor appetite.

Last week, interest in the online department store retailer stalled, with big private-equity names including Carlyle, CVC Capital Partners and Advent reportedly opting out. 

Concerns about Shop Direct’s reliance on its consumer credit business is believed to have put some potential bidders off.

Apax, which sold New Look in 2015, and BC partners tabled indicative offers for the Littlewoods and Very owner last week.

There is currently at least one other interested party too, Sky News understands. 

Shop Direct’s current owners, the Barclay brothers, are reportedly asking £3bn for the business.