Debenhams stores across the UK are set to close after JD Sports pulled out of talks to rescue the company – putting 12,000 retail jobs at risk.
The sports chain was the only bidder for the firm, which is currently in administration, and had appeared to be approaching a purchase deal at the end of last week.
However, the collapse of Arcadia Group – the biggest concession stand operator across Debenhams stores – is thought to have changed the calculations of JD Sports.
Debenhams’s 124 stores are now set to shut down, with staff reportedly told on Tuesday morning that their jobs would go if another buyer cannot be found.
Administrators Hilco told the BBC they had “regretfully concluded” that they should start winding down operations, while continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business.
In a brief statement to the London Stock Exchange, JD Sports Fashion said “discussions with the administrators of Debenhams regarding a potential acquisition of the UK business have now been terminated”.