A last-ditch attempt by the owner of HMV to strike a rescue deal for stricken retailer Wilko has failed.
Administrators for the high street chain had been in discussions with Doug Putman, who owns the entertainment retailer, over a deal to buy around 200 Wilko shops.
However, the PA news agency understands that these talks have now collapsed, intensifying fears over the future of thousands of jobs.
In a statement to The Sun newspaper, Mr Putman said: “It is with great disappointment that we can no longer continue in the purchase process for Wilko having worked with administrators and suppliers over several weeks to seek a viable way to rescue it as a going concern.”
Sky News has reported that administrators from PwC are now in talks with Poundland over a potential deal to offload about 100 stores.
Wilko, which employed around 12,500 staff, had already announced a £13 million deal to sell 51 shops to B&M, although the rival discounter has not agreed to take on Wilko workers as part of the deal.
Administrators have already announced more than 1,600 redundancies at Wilko in recent weeks.