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The private equity firm, which also owns the Alexon and Jacques Vert brands, will keep 230 Bonmarché store open but close around 160, resulting in the loss of up to 1,400 jobs.

In addition to buying Bonmarché, Sun European is also reported to be one of the potential bidders for the Bonmarche’s sister chain Peacocks which collapsed into administration last week. Other interested parties are believed to include KKR, Premira and Edinburgh Woollen Mills.

Chris Laverty, joint administrator at KPMG, said: "Given the hostile conditions on the high street, we're pleased to have concluded a sale with Sun European Partners. The deal is a positive step forward in underscoring Bonmarché's future."

Sun European’s vice-president, Matthias Gundlach, said: "We are confident in putting a sustainable growth programme in place and working with the management team to develop the business successfully."

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