As Retail Week went to press, Davies was set to be forced out of the running to buy Principles after the administration of defunct parent company Mosaic accelerated its sale process.
The sale by administrator Deloitte was expected by the end of this week. Davies, who expressed an interest in buying Principles before it fell into the hands of administrators, said he needed more time to secure funding.
He said: “The process is now being run by the administrator. We are still talking but if [the administrator] wants a quick sale we will be unlikely to get it.”
A source said that the ex-Mosaic management team was working, along with other parties, to safeguard the future of Principles’ 90 stores and 2,500 jobs.
Itisunderstoodthat Debenhams, which operates Principles concessions, has entered a bid only for the Principles brand, not its standalone stores.
Debenhams, which has a large amount of influence over the sale of Principles – due to change of control clauses – is believed to be being asked to consider withdrawing its bid.
Neither Debenhams nor Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green – both of whom operate Principles concessions – will want the stock problems associated with a failed sale of Principles.
Meanwhile, fellow former Mosaic brand Shoe Studio was sold to footwear retailer Dune on Wednesday. The sale includes its 300 concessions while its remaining 11 standalone stores are to close.
Baugur-backed Mosaic went into pre-pack administration on Monday with management and Icelandic bank Kaupthing buying back core fashion brands Karen Millen, Coast, Warehouse and Oasis in a debt for equity swap. Management – headed by chief executive Derek Lovelock – are believed to have between 5 and 10 per cent equity in the new fashion group, Aurora.
Davies declined to comment on speculation that British Fashion Council chief executive and former Principles co-owner Hilary Riva would leave her post to join him if the Principles bid is successful.