The managing director of Slater Menswear has spoken about his reasons for the company's bid to capture the fashion chain Austin Reed.

Paul Slater's Glasgow based business is currently involved in takeover talks for Austin Reed and has been for three months.

Slater, whose Glasgow outlet made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest single men's wear store, is currently involved in a programme of organic expansion. The company has 14 stores - eight of them opened over the last five years - and new stores will open this year in Cheltenham, Worcester and Basingstoke.

"We have been looking for organic growth and we are still doing that, but we have also been keeping an eye out for anything that would be a good fit. That is the rationale behind Austin Reed," said Paul Slater. He would not discuss any details about his takeover bid, although he said that Austin Reed would complement the growing Slater chain.

"We are stronger in Scotland and the North, but we have no central London presence, for example. Acquiring Austin Reed would give us national reach at one fell swoop," he said. Austin Reed has 47 stand-alone stores, 36 concessions and 64 stand-alone Country Casuals branches with 139 concessions.

According to press reports, Slater may face competition for Austin Reed from Harold Tillman of Leeds-based men's wear group BMB, entrepreneur Richard Thompson and Italian company Marzotto - which makes suits for Marks & Spencer.

Paul Slater would not be drawn on the prospect of a battle, simply saying: "Other names are being banded around. I don't know whether they have shown any interest. Time will tell." He would not say how long he expected his own discussions to take.

News of a possible takeover resulted in Austin Reed shares rising 20 per cent on the stock market. It took the value of the company to £40 million, although analysts suggest that any successful bidder will have to find between £50 million and £60 million.

By Clive Hinchliffe.