A battle is being waged between suppliers and retailers over the future of £5m of Principles stock left unsold following the administration of former parent company Mosaic.

Ex-Principles directors have set up The Principles Trading Company to pay forward freighters and suppliers with stock on the water.

However, Debenhams, which acquired the Principles stock already in warehouses at the time of the administration, is in direct talks with a number of suppliers to acquire some of the summer stock left in the supply chain, in total thought to be worth £5m at cost price.

Suppliers are also understood to have approached other department stores to shift the stock.

Debenhams wanted to agree a deal by this week if the stock is to be in stores in season. Any remaining stock is likely to be rebadged and sold on the grey market.

According to sources, The Principles Trading Company is acting as a non-profit-making agent backed by Mosaic’s administrator Deloitte and the management of Aurora, the company created following the administration.