Troubled clothing supplier William Baird on Thursday rejected a £17.9 million bid by fashion company Jacques Vert as too low.

The owner of brands including Melka, Planet, Windsmoor and Precis Petite said the offer was not enough but did say that it believes a tie-up makes commercial sense.

Baird added in a statement it has begun the process of selling off its active wear and casual wear businesses, which include the Lowe Alpine brand, and expects to achieve an aggregate cash position.

Earlier this month the company posted a sharp rise in first half pre-tax losses to £9.2 million from £7.6m as flat women's wear sales were compounded by several write-offs.

Chairman Lord Wolfson said: "This bid does not appear to reflect the relative value contributions of Baird and Jacques Vert.

"Baird has already embarked on a recovery programme, which promises to bear fruit over the coming months. In the light of today's events, the board is actively considering alternative options."