Next is closing on a deal to buy high street rival Fat Face, according to reports.

The clothing chain has stores in Dorchester, Bridport, Lyme Regis, Sherborne, Wimborne and Bournemouth.

The FTSE 100 clothing giant is putting the finishing touches to a deal to acquire Fat Face for around £100 million, Sky News reported on Wednesday.

Next and Fat Face both declined to comment.

It comes around three years after Fat Face was taken over by its lenders.

Last year, it was reported that the retail business, which has around 180 UK shops, had hired investment bankers in order to strike a sale.

It would be the latest in a flurry of deals by Next, which saw it buy, Joules and Cath Kidston since last year.

Earlier this year, the company also increased its stake in Reiss to become the majority shareholder in the business.

Last month, Next increased its profit guidance for a third time this year after seeing sales boosted by warm weather and rising wages.

Next reported a better-than-expected 5.4 per cent jump in total sales over the six months to July, compared with the same period last year, and a 3.2 per cent increase in sales of its brands at full price.

On Wednesday, shares in Next were 1.9 per cent lower.