The company seen as the frontrunner to win the Topshop auction surprised observers late on Thursday as it emerged Next had pulled out of bidding for the most valuable name in the Arcadia basket of brands.
Much of the attention around the bidding for Arcadia's brands has been focused on big names such as Boohoo, Frasers, and Authentic Brands too. But reports suggest as many as 40 parties have registered their interest.
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.
Arcadia is now operating in administration with speculation that Boohoo, Frasers, Next and M&S would be interested in buying parts of it. There are also fears over the knock-on effect on its suppliers.
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.