British high street giant Marks & Spencer has admitted that the sale of its American supermarket chain, Kings, is taking longer than expected.

Chairman Luc Vandevelde hinted earlier this month that a deal was to be signed but newspaper reports over the weekend quoted an M&S spokesman as saying that the deal still remained several weeks away.

The company is believed to be in talks with a number of potential buyers, thought to include Gristede's, the New York supermarket chain, and rival D'Agastino, about the £120 million sale of the 27-strong store chain.