Discount retailer Primark is mulling buying some of Allders' department stores according to newspaper reports at the weekend.

Primark, which is owned by Associated British Foods, is believed to have viewed confidential information about the struggling department store group which has been put up for sale by property group Minerva.

Primark is interested in just part of the chain, which consists of 25 department stores and 20 home furnishing stores.

Entrepreneur Philip Green has also shown interest in the Allders chain, as has Phil Cox, Allders' commercial director and supermarket group Asda's ex-finance director. Financial experts, however, believe that the two will find difficulty in financing a deal.

Primark, which currently operates approximately 120 stores throughout the UK, saw an increase in operating profit of nearly 23 per cent to £108 million in the year ended 18 September 2004.

Allders was bought by bidding vehicle Scarlett Retail, investment bank Lehman Brothers, chief executive Terry Green and commercial director Phil Cox for £132m two years ago. It was put back on sale in December this year after struggling to make a profit.