A price tag of about $190m ($95m) has been placed on Harris Scarfe with 45 potential purchasers expressing interest in buying the retailer, the Adelaide Advertiser reported today.

If all goes to plan, the department store chain, with 35 stores throughout Australia, would be sold as a whole and not broken up as previously predicted.

Hindal Corporate director David Beatty, who is handling the sale, said yesterday information memorandums would be sent out next week. "We hope to find a purchaser by the end of May with settlement by the end of June," he said.

Mr Beatty said of the 45 interested buyers, three were from overseas and the rest were from Australia - all of which were existing retailers. Mr Beatty said about half the interested parties were keen to buy the network of stores which employs 2800 people nationally, while the others were only interested in selected sites.

But he said Hindal Corporate was "proposing to sell Harris Scarfe as a whole. It is not in our interest to sell it as separate parts," he said. However, he would not rule out store closures.

Mr Beatty said the "benchmark price" of about A$190m ($95m) was the estimated total value of the company's assets, with the entire stock valued at about A$70m ($35m) and its plant, property and equipment at A$114m ($57m).

The retailer, which was put into receivership on April 6 with debts of $160m ($80m), was trading quite well, he said. Meanwhile, investigations into the collapse of the company were continuing.