British department store group Debenhams is in talks with lenders and looking to bring in new sources of funding as it battles for survival following another plunge in sales.
The 241-year-old group said on Thursday sales fell 6.2 percent at its main British business in the 18 weeks to Jan. 5, and by 3.6 percent over the six-week Christmas trading period.
Once the country's biggest department store chain, Debenhams has reported a string of profit warnings as it failed to keep pace with consumers moving online and to cheaper outlets, hammering its shares and wiping 80 percent off its market value.
Striving to avoid the fate of collapsed rival BHS and House of Fraser, which was rescued by Sports Direct-owner Mike Ashley, the company has launched a program to close 50 of its underperforming stores, putting about 4,000 jobs at risk.
Debenhams said net debt remained within the rules of its banking agreements but it had opened talks with its lenders about refinancing its borrowings and could seek to bring in new sources of funding to bolster its balance sheet.
Asset disposals have been put on hold during the talks, it added.