French Connection has said it is launching a formal sale process after receiving takeover interest, but told investors a suitor from last month will not make an offer.

In early February, the fashion retailer said it had received two approaches – one from Gordon Brothers International and Spotlight Brands, and another from Go Global Retail – over a potential takeover.

However, its shares slipped on Tuesday after it said Gordon Brothers and Spotlight would not place a bid.

The troubled high street firm said it is still in preliminary talks with Go Global.

It told shareholders it is also in initial discussion with another three parties – which have not been named – regarding a sale.

French Connection stressed that the talks may not necessarily result in an offer for the business.

Last month, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group sold its major stake in French Connection after interest from the investment groups buoyed its share price.

The fashion brand was founded by Stephen Marks in 1972 but has seen sales impacted by the turmoil on the high street in recent years, with the coronavirus pandemic adding to its woes.

In December, French Connection said it had seen “encouraging” sales after some stores were able to reopen, before the latest national lockdown came into force in January.

The takeover approaches come more than a year after French Connection called off plans to find a buyer following a year-long search.

Shares were 3% lower at 26p after the update.