The buy-out firm PAI Partners is to submit a second round bid for Office, the shoe chain owned by the Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter.
Office, which has 124 stores, appointed the corporate finance firm Hawkpoint to run a sale process in the summer and the retailer could fetch a price tag of up to £200m.
PAI Partners, which is continental Europe's biggest private equity house, is one of the five bidders selected to go through to the second round of bids due in mid November.
The buy-out firms Barclays Private Equity and Permira looked at Office but are believed to be no longer in the running.
All the companies cited declined to comment today.