Fashion designer Jeff Banks has threatened to sue J Sainsbury Plc for £15 million after moves by the supermarket chain to scrap his adult clothing line, The Times has reported.

Welsh-born Banks, whose Jeff & Co brand was created for the supermarket chain, said the range had suffered due to Sainsbury's "inability" to retail clothing, and claimed the company planned to terminate his contract before it runs out in June 2005.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's, however, said the company was merely "reviewing" its clothing offer, with plans to differentiate and not necessarily part company with Banks.

"We have said that we will introduce a new clothing offer in autumn/winter 2004," the spokeswoman said.

"Jeff Banks is a very successful designer who also designs for Debenhams, Matalan and Argos, and our customers, who are very knowledgeable about what is available, know that.

"They have told us that, in addition to the convenience of buying clothing while doing their weekly food shop, they want a differentiated clothing offer.

"We are working on that new offering.

"We are in discussions with Jeff, with whom we have a relationship through manufacturers Baird Menswear Brands."

Sainsbury's, which operates about 450 stores throughout the United Kingdom, only displays its clothing lines in 74 outlets.

While competitors Tesco and Asda have enjoyed increasing profits from non-food goods of late, Sainsbury's has been criticised by investors for falling behind in this market.