UPDATE: Wilkinson is in the bidding race for hardware retailer Robert Dyas, it is understood.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the value retailer is one of four in the second round of bids. Two unknown trade buyers and a private equity firm are among the interested parties.

Robert Dyas is expected to sell for £25m, which is believed to be its debt level.

Its banks, Lloyds Banking Group and Allied Irish Bank re-opened sale interest at the beginning of the year after suspending plans for a sale last year. 

Family-owned Wilkinson reported £61m pre-tax profit and sales of almost £1.6bn in the year to January 2011.

A spokesman said “While we are aware that the Wilkinson name has been linked to speculative comments regarding the sale of Robert Dyas, we never comment on speculation of this kind. It is our policy only to comment on our business strategy or operations when it is appropriate to do so.”

The retailer said it is always looking for suitable new sites and business development opportunities.