Cumbria retail tycoon Philip Day’s long-running takeover of womenswear fashion chain Bonmarché has taken a major step towards completion.

In an update published London Stock Exchange, Spectre Holdings Limited – the Dubai-registered company owned entirely by Mr Day – said it had now secured 93 per cent of Bonmarché shares and called on the embattled retailer to de-list.

Spectre acquired 52.4 per cent of the company in March, which triggered a mandatory takeover bid by Mr Day, who offered remaining shareholders 11.445 pence per share up until the deadline of Friday, July 12.

Spectre said it now holds 46.5m shares, representing around 93 per cent of Bonmarché – which has 300 stores across the UK, including outlets in Carlisle, Barrow and Workington.

Confirming that is offer for shares had now ended, it said in the statement: “Spectre intends to procure that Bonmarché applies for the cancellation of the listing of Bonmarché Shares on the Official List of the UK Listing Authority and for the cancellation of trading of Bonmarché Shares on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.

“It is anticipated that such cancellations will take effect no earlier than 12 August 2019.”

The announcement signals the final moves towards a deal that, up until last month, the Bonmarché Board had resisted, saying Mr Day’s offer undervalued the company.

However, in a letter to shareholders, the Board undertook a dramatic u-turn, saying that poor trading in the first quarter along with its ongoing efforts to cut costs made Mr Day’s offer “potentially more attractive in the short term” – despite repeating its reservation’s about the valuation of the company and Mr Day’s long-term plans for it.

The shift by the Bonmarché board signalled the end of a month-long stalemate with Mr Day, who left his offer on the table while the retailer grappled with a cost-cutting plan, which has so far amounted to £6m.

Mr Day has a long legacy of turning around struggling retailers, adding the likes of Peacocks, Proquip, Austin Reed, Country Casuals, Jaeger and Jacques Vert to his growing Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group empire.

Spectre Holdings Ltd remains separate from the group, for which Mr Day – who has an estate in Brampton and financial links to Carlisle United – is best known. He was recently named the eighth richest person in the North West with a fortune of £1.2 billion in The Sunday Times Rich List.