The sale of retailer Harris Scarfe, which was put into receivership on April 6 with accumulated debts of about $160 million, looks likely to be a lengthy affair.

Bruce Carter and John Spark of receivers Ferrier Hodgson initially hoped to finalise new ownership by 30 June, but the latest indications are that negotiations could drag out to the end of this year.

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review at the weekend, Bruce Carter confirmed that the chain has started ordering stock for the crucial Christmas trading season. He added that he still intended to secure a sale as soon as possible, although the restructured business was now financially stable and able to operate as a stand-alone entity.

Last month it was reported that Harris Scarfe was trading to expectations in all markets, and Mr Carter confirmed that the business had now had annualised sales in the "mid-$300 millions".

Upmarket retailer David Jones on Friday emerged as the new occupier for one of the six Harris Scarfe stores closed by the receivers. The outlet at Sydney's Campbelltown passed from David Jones to Harris Scarfe in 1997, but David Jones agreed to act as a lease guarantor until 2017.