Struggling Moss Bross waits for Ahmed to make his move

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The Independent Online

Shami Ahmed's "bid" approach to Moss Bros looks increasingly unlikely to come to anything, according to sources close to the struggling menswear retailer.

Mr Ahmed, the retail entrepreneur behind the Joe Bloggs fashion chain, announced more than two months ago that he was "considering entering into discussions which may or may not lead him to making an offer" for Moss Bros.

Since then there has been no further statement as to his intentions. His advisers claim he is still trying to raise the finance but gave no details on progress. It is also understood that, contrary to reports, Mr Ahmed has held no talks with the Moss and Gee family members who own 22 per cent of the company. It is understood the family shareholders are backing the board, led by the chairman Keith Hamill.

Moss Bros believes the ball is in Mr Ahmed's court but it has decided not to ask the Takeover Panel to force Mr Ahmed to make a further statement regarding his plans. "It's his move," one source said. "But if he does ask for a meeting we will only do that if he can demonstrate that he's got the funding."

Mr Hamill would not comment on Mr Ahmed's interest beyond his statement in December. "Our position remains that we doubt he can make a credible offer," he said.

However, Mr Ahmed's advisers insist he is still interested. "As far as we are aware he is still serious," one said.

Moss Bros has confirmed plans to drop its new Code brand of casual clothing stores, which was only launched in September. All 30 Code stores will be converted to the Moss Bros name over the next six months. The 90 Moss outlets will concentrate mainly on suits. Moss Bros claims to control 8 per cent of the UK mens' suit market.