Elaine McPherson, the retailer who is re-launching Ethel Austin as Life & Style, said she has raised in excess of £7m to roll out the chain to 200-plus stores over the coming years.
The funds for the expansion came from the Bank of Baroda in India and Asian textile entrepreneur Suresh Ruia, a supplier to and a major shareholder in Life & Style alongside McPherson.
Manchester-based Ruia owns Beamfeature, a supplier of textiles and toys which he set up in 1986.
Life & Style was formed in March following the acquisition of the trade and assets of the former Ethel Austin and Au Naturale chains. Life & Style acquired 91 of Ethel Austin's larger format stores and is currently actively seeking additional premises of between 10,000 sq ft and 20,000 sq ft across the UK. McPherson moved the company's headquarters from Knowsley to Broadheath, Altrincham.
McPherson, who sold Mark One to Baugur in 2004 for £55m, said: "I have known Suresh for many years as a business contact and admire and respect his way of working. There is a huge amount of synergy between our businesses and I am excited to have such a strong retail visionary joining the team.
"I couldn't think of a better partner to have by my side as we take the Life & Style brand forwards."
Life & Style's retained property agent is Rob Amey at Hartnell Taylor & Cook in London.