Hundreds of people working in the Irish stores of the Arcadia retail giant, which includes Topshop and Miss Selfridge, face renewed uncertainty after fashion retailer Next withdrew from bidding for the troubled British group.
Arcadia went into examinership in Britain and Ireland in late November after it was overwhelmed by the costs of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis and administrators sought a buyer for the retailer.
However, rival retailer Next said last night it had pulled out of the bidding process, saying it had failed to meet the price administrators were seeking.
The Arcadia Group includes fashion sellers Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, as well as Burton.
It employs 13,000 people in Britain and 1,000 people across Ireland. Trade union and employer experts had said they feared for many of the jobs amid the new Covid-19 lockdowns this month.
Sky News reported, however, that the pull-out by Next may clear the way for Chinese retailer Shein to buy Topshop for more than £300m (€338m).