Discount clothing retailer Peacock yesterday confirmed it had received a takeover approach.
The group, which issued a profits warning in January, said it had noted recent speculation and that an unnamed party had made "an indicative approach that may or may not lead to an offer" for the company.
In January, Peacock said a poor pre-Christmas performance from its bonmarche chain, which also has stores in the West Midlands, was largely responsible for an expected £4 million reduction in its internal full-year profit forecasts.
Total sales at bonmarche had slipped 0.3 per cent in the 13 weeks to January 1 and were up only 2.5 per cent in the 39 weeks to January 1, against an 11.7 per cent rise in the same period a year ago.
The group said trading at the division, which sells clothes for women aged 45 and above, had suffered from strong competition, aggressive discounting by rivals such as Asda and Tesco and inadequate appeal to customers seeking more fashionable products.