A Matalan model: the fashion retailer had planned to open four Dublin stores

British discount clothing chain Matalan has shelved plans to expand into the Republic of Ireland market until August at the earliest.

The company is believed to have planned to open four stores in Dublin over the next 18 months, but has opted to defer those plans for the present

The retailer had been looking at the Irish market for several months and it was speculated that it had hired property advisers HWBC to draw up a report on the opportunities it offered.

Last week Matalan founder John Hargreaves put plans to sell off the retailer to a private equity company on hold after it failed to meet the £1.5bn asking price. Bidders TPG, Advent or Warburg Pincus were unwilling to move past bids of £1.3bn, it was reported last week.

Matalan typically operates from out-of-town retail warehouses and sells fashion and homewares at up to 50% below the equivalent high-street price.

Brands on sale there include Wrangler, Lee Cooper, Jeff Banks, Calvin Klein and Farah.

It currently trades from more than 200 stores, five of which are in Northern Ireland.

Discount retailers like Penneys, New Look and TK Maxx have traditionally traded strongly in the Irish market, particularly since the downturn.