Phase Eight’s South African owner The Foschini Group has bought fashion retailer Whistles for an undisclosed sum, boosting its expansion plans.

Whistles’ latest company accounts reveal turnover of nearly £63m but a pre-tax loss of £2.2m after the retailer invested in menswear and the US, and online. It also attributed the loss to a “difficult retail trading environment”.

The premium high street brand has 64 stores in the UK and Ireland and around 75 concessions in department stores. It is run by the well respected former Topshop boss Jane Shepherdson.

The Foschini Group acquired Phase Eight in January 2015 from private equity owner Towerbrook. The deal was valued at £300m.

South African groups have been circling retailers of late, as the rand weakens. Steinhoff has shown interest in French retailer Darty and recently pulled out of its bid for Home Retail Group while Truworths International snapped up footwear retailer Office late last year.