Young fashion chain Republic has been put up for sale by its private equity owner Change Capital.

Change Capital - which is run by former Marks & Spencer directors Luc Vandevelde and Roger Holmes - bought a majority stake in the chain five years ago.

Republic, which sells brands including Superdry and G-Star, has been put up for sale through investment bank Rothschild, according to The Sunday Times.

A sale could generate a windfall for Republic chief executive Tim Whitworth and founder Carl Brewins, who still own more than 40% of the shares and lead the management team.

The Leeds-based company was valued at £105m in 2005 but private equity experts believe it might have doubled or tripled in value since then.

City sources said Rothschild was exploring all options for the business, including a refinancing and a float, as well as a sale. They added that Change was still evaluating its options and may decide not to sell. Whitworth and Brewins are expected to keep most of their shares and to continue running the business.