Bagelmania has denied reports that it is up for sale, with John Chesterman, the company’s chairman, saying that all sites are trading well.

Chesterman admitted that there had been unsolicited offers for the estate of eight central London outlets.

The Evening Standard and Property Week have both run stories claiming that the sites were being marketed for £1.5m.

Chesterman said that he was in touch with the Evening Standard and had called for them to retract the story.

Chesterman was quoted in Property Week as having said: "We have had approaches and we are prepared to consider them. It’s hard to make any business work at the moment."

The chain, founded in 1999 by John Chesterman and backed by Marco Pierre White and Robert Earl, the founder of Planet Hollywood, announced plans in November 2001 to open 26 stores by 2005.

Market analysts report that a number of factors are contributing to bad results for cafes and restaurants in central London. The war in Iraq, blamed for many economic problems, is joined by the Central Line tube closure, congestion charge, redundancies in the City and relocations to Canary Wharf.