• Sports Direct reportedly tables bid for entire business
  • Administrator AlixPartners has also received interest from Ghost owner and Jaeger owner
  • Mike Ashley also eyeing BHS with plans to keep all stores open

Sports Direct’s founder Mike Ashley has reportedly placed a bid to buy the beleaguered Austin Reed out of administration.

The sports retailer is understood to be one of a number of interested parties that have tabled bids for the fashion retailer, which slumped into administration last month citing “cash flow difficulties arising from challenging retail market conditions”.

The upmarket menswear chain was the second high-profile retail collapse in as many days, following the demise of department store chain BHS.

Administrator AlixPartners has received numerous expressions of interest in Austin Reed. Several bidders, including Sports Direct, have submitted offers of around £30m for the entire business, according to reports.

Touker Suleyman, the owner of Ghost and Hawes & Curtis, expressed an interest in buying parts of the menswear chain last week, as well as private equity firm Better Capital, which owns Jaeger.

Moss Bros, White Stuff and Joules are also thought to be circling the retailer’s estate.

A short list of bidders is expected to be compiled later this week.

In addition to Austin Reed, Ashley has been eyeing a purchase of BHS.

The retail tycoon and Newcastle United owner said: “We would anticipate that there would not be any job losses, including jobs at head office, and that all stores would remain open.”

Administrators for BHS are understood to have had more than 50 expressions of interest. B&M is eyeing some stores, Retail Week revealed, while others believed to be interested are Edinburgh Woollen Mill founder Philip Day, South African retail entrepreneur Christo Wiese and former Asda boss and current Co-op Group chairman Allan Leighton.

Austin Reed, which operates across 100 stores and 50 concessions, continues to trade while the administrators try to find a buyer.

There are no immediate plans for store closures or redundancies, although the administration does put the long-term future of about 1,184 jobs on the line.

Austin Reed’s former clients include Sir Winston Churchill.

Over the past 12 months, the 116-year-old retailer has undergone a CVA, shuttered 31 of its stores and is selling its 35,000 sq ft Regent Street flagship.