THE womenswear retailer Bonmarche is poised to accept a cut-price rescue offer after announcing poor trading.

The company said it would now back a £5.7million takeover by billionaire Philip Day after earlier rejecting it.

It has branches at Southampton’s Marlands Shopping Centre, Shirley, Eastleigh, Fareham and Gosport.

It warned that while full-year profits could hit forecasts, there was a “significant degree of uncertainty attached to this”.

The chain also said its auditor could include a reference to the "uncertainty with regard to going concern" in full-year accounts.

Bonmarche said: "Whilst the board's view remains that the offer does not adequately reflect the potential longer-term value of the business, the increase in uncertainty that has developed reflecting the trading and financial position of the business during the first quarter of the financial year makes the certainty represented by the offer potentially more attractive in the short term."

It said the offer was "fair and reasonable" and Mr Day would be a "successful long-term owner", although he has not yet agreed to the board's request to discuss his future plans for Bonmarche.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "Shareholders will be hugely disappointed by the retailer having to be bailed out at a cheap price, but it is perhaps better to get something back than nothing at all, which is the alternative if Bonmarche can't be saved."

Mr Day – who is behind the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group and owns a number of other retailers such as Peacocks and Jane Norman – acquired more than half of the company's shares in April through holding company Spectre, triggering a mandatory takeover bid.