Second round bids for value retailer B&M Bargains are expected by the end of next week, it is understood.

Financial advisor Rothschild is leading the sale of a stake in the 297-store chain which has expanded rapidly and is poised to hit £1bn turnover.

US private equity houses Blackstone, BC Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice are reportedly in the running to take a share.

The retailer is owned by brothers Simon and Bobby Arora and the deal will ensure they maintain a large stake. It is understood Simon Arora will continue as joint-chief executive of the business.

B&M has also appointed Ernst & Young to scout locations for its first European stores with France or the Netherlands the most likely initial countries. If the plans go ahead, B&M would be the first UK discount chain to have opened a store on the continent.