A NATIONAL retail group headquartered in Carlisle is reported to be looking into the sale of one of its high street chains.

High street tycoon Philip Day is said to have received unsolicited approaches from buyers interested in purchasing clothing retailer Peacocks.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group moved its headquarters from Langholm, in Scotland, to Carlisle in November 2018.

The group includes Peacocks, as well as the well-known Edinburgh Woollen Mill chain of stores.

It also has its global distribution centre at the city’s Kingmoor Park.

Reports in the national press said Mr Day has appointed the advisory firm FRP to sound out potential buyers for Peacocks.

Peacocks employs about 11,000 people and trades from 550 outlets.

Mr Day amassed a £1.14bn fortune by buying up distressed retail brands and integrating them into his empire.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put pressure on the businesses by depriving them of the over-60s and foreign tourist market.

Peacocks has reopened fewer than half of its shops.

Separately, Mr Day is also marketing his Jaeger, Austin Reed and Jacques Vert fashion labels to potential buyers.

In March, 19 jobs were axed at the group’s Global House offices in Castle Street due to the effects of coronavirus on the high street.

The offices are home to around 200 staff.

During lockdown, Mr Day, who now lives in Switzerland, furloughed almost all of his 24,000 staff.

He has a history of putting businesses through administration and buying them back, shorn of debts.

Three months after buying Bonmarché last year, it fell into administration before he bought it back without £24m of liabilities.

He acquired Edinburgh Woollen Mill in 2001 for £55m.

The chain, best known for its knitwear and shortbread, generated a pre-tax profit of £14.7m on sales of £88.8m in the six months to March 2019.

In November the company posted a £23.4m profit after tax. Peacocks, which Mr Day bought out of administration in 2012, is the biggest part of the group.