Frasers Group was reportedly racing to try to do a deal on Debenhams at the weekend, but reports also suggested that US-based Barneys owner Authentic Brands has both Debenhams and Arcadia in its sights.
Shoppers have shunned physical stores to avoid catching Covid-19, and accelerated a shift to online shopping that was underway before the pandemic. The effects are being felt throughout Britain's high streets.
Mike Ashley's Frasers Group confirmed on Monday that it’s interested in buying Debenhams even though the auction for the Department store chain has already ended and the chain is expected to close completely by March.
Debenhams may be preparing to go out of business, but Mike Ashley – who has coveted the department stores chain for years – still sees a chance he could win it and has made a last-minute approach to its advisers.
Giant fashion group Arcadia is believed to be on the verge of the worst UK corporate collapse of the Covid crisis, with the firm expected to go into administration as early as Monday. This would put 13,000 jobs at risk.
Frasers Group is continuing its deep dive into the luxury sector. On Thursday it announced that it has increased its already-large stake in leather goods company Mulberry and could make an offer for the brand.