If you’re becoming confused by all the reports that a deal for the sale of All Saints was going to be completed imminently, you’re not alone

Last Thursday the FT wrote that All Saints was “in the final stages of agreeing a £102m financial rescue package”, quoting chief executive Stephen Craig on its “two new and influential partners”. The same day Sky’s Mark Kleinman wrote “I have learned that Lion will own about 75 per stake of All Saints as part of a deal that could be completed by the beginning of next week.” The Daily Mail’s headline was even “It’s all but sold”, while there were various stories to the same effect over the weekend. Yet still no news.

I have no particular ‘in’ on the All Saints saga, but what I do know is that people have been telling us for weeks that a deal ‘could’ be signed by the end of the week/start of next week/tea time/by the time I make it back from the bathroom. But as yet nothing has happened and the negotiations seem to be proving pretty tortuous.

Funnily enough it wasn’t that long ago that Lloyds TSB were using a picture of a grinning Craig as a regular advert in the Times to demonstrate how they support growing businesses. And All Saints was indeed a really good concept and good news story for UK retail, offering edgy fashion in really well-designed stores. It has provided some much needed excitement and difference on high streets up and down the country.

It now has serious problems though. Firstly, All Saints got caught up in the Icelandic saga. It wasn’t alone among retailers in that, but while most of the retailers affected have extricated themselves from the country’s problems, All Saints has suffered because the turmoil its owners faced coincided with really difficult trading. That stems in part from opening too many stores in expensive locations, and while its venture Stateside proved a success with the critics, it has also proved an expensive move.

And then there’s the people involved. Founder Kevin Stanford and Craig are undoubtedly talented but both are known as volatile and headstrong characters. And when you get volatile fashion characters mixing with the financial fraternity, it’s quite easy for investors to get scared off. We need edgy brands like All Saints on the high street, so I hope it succeeds in getting its new funding. But this is one not to bank on it until the ink’s dried and the press release has been sent out.