Discount clothing retailer Peacock Group Plc has confirmed its interest in the 120 clothing shops owned by Littlewoods, but cautions: "No information has been provided by Littlewoods, and as a consequence, Peacocks' interest is highly indicative at this stage."

Privately owned Littlewoods revealed on Tuesday that it had received several approaches about an acquisition of its entire 170 store portfolio, which includes standalone Index catalogue shops. The stores have a 2.8 per cent share of the clothing market.

Peacock is currently in takeover talks with discount retailer Bon Marche Group Ltd, and sees potential to double its existing 345 UK stores. On the Bon Marche front, Peacock says discussions are "progressing satisfactorily," although a number of issues remain outstanding.

Reports have suggested Associated British Foods PLC's Primark chain as a possible suitor. Next Plc and Matalan Plc have said they are not interested, and Bhs owner Philip Green has ruled out a bid from either him or his departing chief executive Terry Green.