Former Harrods owner and entrepreneur Mohamed al-Fayed is reported to be plotting a return to retail by acquiring online luxury business Cocosa.

The online private Sales etailer, launched in 2008, has more than 400,000 members and is owned by magazine and radio group Bauer Media. It sells luxury fashion and accessories brands including Vivienne Westwood and Julien Macdonald, at discounted prices.

If the acquisition is successful, Al-Fayed could use Cocosa as a springboard to launch a new online retail empire, according to the Independent On Sunday. He sold luxury department store Harrods to Qatar Holdings for £1.5bn last year.

It is reported that Jeffrey Byrne and Robert Fallowfield, who currently work for al-Fayed’s Highland estate business Balnagown, were last month registered as directors for a new business called Cocosa Lifestyle.