N Brown chief executive Alan White denied the home shopping group is to be sold, following chairman and major shareholder Lord Alliance’s decision to step down from the role.

White, who also revealed he is to exit the group today, said the move did not mean a stake sale is in the offing.

Speculation was rife this morning following the unveiling of a raft of board departures. Lord Alliance, who will stay on as non-executive director, and brother Nigel, who retires from the retailer’s board, own 45% of the group. Lord Alliance has been at N Brown since he acquired it in 1963.

When asked whether the retailer is up for sale, White responded: “Not at all. I spoke to both [brothers] who asked me to put in the announcement that they will remain major stakeholders.  That’s their intention, nothing will change.”

Singer Capital Markets analyst Matthew McEachran said in a note this morning: “With half the board retiring, including the chief executive and the group’s biggest shareholders, this will spark immediate speculation about a possible sale of the group which should significantly outweigh a small downgrade this morning.”