TJ Hughes has pushed the button on a formal sale process that could value the business at about £70m.

The discount department store chain, which is backed by European private equity business Silverfleet Capital, issued an information memorandum this week.

TJ Hughes chief executive Sue Tennant said that the business was “open minded” about the type of buyer it would consider.

It is understood a small number of trade players have received the memorandum. First-round bids are due on April 29 and the process is being overseen by corporate advisory boutique Hawkpoint.

TJ Hughes was bought by Silverfleet - then called PPM Capital -in November 2003 as part of a management buyout worth £56m.

Tennant said the 52-store business, which stocks brands such as Birkenstock, Calvin Klein Underwear, Triumph and Slazenger, had a “strong Easter after a strong Christmas” and continues to perform “well”. It has opened a string of stores over the past six months and ramped up its ecommerce offer.

Like-for-likes rose 4% over Christmas, driven by strong sales of kidswear and accessories. “We have put together a compelling business story with the results behind it,” she said.

In the year to January 31, 2009, turnover increased 9.1% to £261.3m and EBITDA rose 30% to £9.2m.

Tennant said she would like to stay on, and stressed there was no need for the business to be sold.