Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins owner Arcadia is close to applying for a restructuring deal, according to a report on Friday.
Arcadia, run by former BHS owner Philip Green, is in advanced negotiations to secure a Company Voluntary Arrangement, Sky News reported, involving closures of many of its 570 stores, rent reductions and job cuts from its near 20,000 headcount.
Advised by Deloitte, the retail giant was looking at potentially shuttering around 200 stores as the leases approach their 2020 expiry date, the Telegraph reported earlier this year, with the aim of pushing for reduced rent costs on new lease agreements.
To carry out the CVA, Green and his advisers need the backing of its landlords and the Pension Protection Fund.
The Pensions Regulator, in light of Green's sale of BHS and subsequent bailing out of its retirement scheme in 2016, would only endorse a CVA, Sky reported, if it was satisfied that Arcadia would be in a better position to meet its pension contribution obligations after the scheme was carried out.
Documents released in 2017 showed the Arcadia's pension deficit had swelled to Â£565m, with the company contributing around Â£50m a year.
Arcadia, which operates the Topshop and Topman, Miss Selfridge, Evans, Wallis, Burton and Dorothy Perkins chains, has been struggling with tumbling sales and rising property costs and it has been reported that credit insurers are planning to cut cover for the group for the second time.
The group's latest financial accounts show it made annual sales of Â£1.9bn and paid out Â£183m in lease payments, while reports indicate it has closed 210 shops over the last two years.
Green raised some cash as he sold the former BHS headquarters in London for Â£44m earlier this month.