The French arm of jeans wear group Lee Cooper could be wound up later this week after a potential bidder pulled out.

The threat of liquidation follows the announcement that a sole candidate to takeover the company - French clothing retailer Verywear - was withdrawing its bid.

"Barring a miracle, we are bracing ourselves for the worst," a union official said, adding that Verywear had pulled out the day before its bid was to have been examined by the court.

Lee Cooper France’s sales have declined by close to 30% over the past five years and the company has accumulated losses estimated at EUR22m (US$27m).

The unit was placed under administration in March, having been declared insolvent.