Budget fashion group QS Holdings is set to be sold for £15.8 million to a consortium led by the founder of women’s apparel chain Bon Marche, Surjeet Khela.

The Brighton-based operator of 184 stores said the 40p a share offer from Hamsard gives shareholders the opportunity to realise a cash sum at a significant premium to the group's share price.

"It is the QS directors' belief the offer is at a level that would be unlikely to be achieved in the market in the foreseeable future," said chairman Tony Dignum, who is set to pocket £600,000 from the deal.

QS posted a pre-tax loss of £899,000 in the first half compared to a £2m loss in 2001, with sales falling to £38.2m from £39.6m amid fierce competition from rivals such as supermarket chain Asda.