Arts and Crafts retailer HobbyCraft has narrowed its list of suitors to six bidders.
Private equity firms including Exponent, Bridgepoint Development Capital and TA Associates are still in the race to buy the retailer for as much as £100m. Second round bids are due in April.
The retailer received around 20 indicative offers in the first round, which closed last month.
Isis, Phoenix Equity Partners and Graphite Capital are thought to be no longer in the running, according to the Independent.
The 45-store retailer, owned by the Haskins family, was initially valued at £70m but sources told Retail Week last month that it could fetch up to £100m.
Chief executive Chris Crombie, who is likely to be kept on by the future owner, has said there is potential to grow the chain into 180 stores.