NEXT is among a host of retail giants aiming to take control of the Arcadia fashion group.

Sir Philip Green’s retail empire, which employs around 13,000 people and 444 UK stores, went into administration at the start of December.

Arcadia has Topshop and Topman in Bournemouth’s Old Christchurch Road and at Castlepoint. Castlepoint also has its Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge and Wallis stores.

A buyer was found in December for the Evans brand, but not for its shops.

It is understood that final bids for Arcadia were due on Monday, although there could be some flexibility.

Bournemouth set to lose Debenhams and Topshop

Administrators at Deloitte were expected to receive bids worth more than £200million in the process, which could be completed by the end of the month, according to the Sunday Times.

Next has been touted as one of the most likely victors in the process, with the listed retailer bidding for the group in partnership with US hedge fund Davidson Kempner.

It is understood that the Next offer would work with existing management and seek to keep many Arcadia stores open if they are able to agree deals with landlords.

Evans buyer does not want to keep shops

Last year, the high street firm, which is led by Conservative peer Lord Wolfson, struck licensing deals with Victoria’s Secret and Laura Ashley after they both went into administration.

Next faces competition from high street rival JD Sports, which has held talks over a joint bid with US retail giant Authentic Brands.

Frasers Group and Boohoo have also been reported as having an interest in acquiring Arcadia brands.

Last month, administrators agreed the sale of Arcadia’s plus-sized brand Evans to Australian firm City Chic Collective in a £23m deal.