Debenhams could be forced to close almost half of its UK stores, despite reportedly nearing a rescue deal with JD Sports.
Up to 60 shops could shutter next year putting thousands of jobs at risk, reported The Guardian, as the department store chain teeters on the verge of liquidation.
In April, during the peak of the pandemic, the British retailer entered ‘light touch’ administration in order to protect itself from legal action from lenders.
Three months later the company confirmed it was exploring a sale to exit administration.
JD Sports is said to be primarily interested in the retailer’s e-commerce site, but it is predicted the sports retailer could buy up to 60 of the group's outlets.
Next has been one of the retailers to benefit from the closure of Debenhams stores, snapping up a handful of UK shops to transform its own dedicated beauty and home stores.
Meanwhile, other retailers including John Lewis, Next and Marks & Spencer could be interested in a number of unwanted Debenhams stores.
The rescue deal is expected to be announced before Christmas.
Big players including The Hut Group and India’s Reliance Retail showed interest in purchasing the high street retailer but dipped out of the race earlier in the year.
Meanwhile, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group fell short of the asking price, despite persistent attempts to purchase the group.
Debenhams declined to comment on the rumoured sale earlier this week.