Supermarket mogul Ron Burkle and his investment arm, Yucaipa, have purchased a large amount of U.S. luxury retail chain Barneys New York's debt, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Citigroup Inc sold a big part of Barneys' secured term loan to Burkle at about 60 cents on the dollar, the people told the paper.

Yucaipa also bought a big part of Barneys' subordinated debt, the paper cited one person familiar with the matter as saying.

Spokesmen for Yucaipa, Citigroup and Barneys could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

Barneys, which is owned by Dubai's Istithmar World Capital, hired restructuring advisory firm Perella Weinberg earlier this year to help it mull options that would shore up its financial position.

The luxury chain, with stores in cities like New York and Chicago, has struggled in the recession as even wealthy consumers have cut back on spending.

Istithmar, a unit of Dubai World , bought Barneys for $942 million from Jones Apparel Group in 2007. It provided some additional funding to the chain in April, allowing it to pay for its shipments for the rest of the year.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)