Department store group, Beales has filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators, casting doubt on the future of around 1,300 jobs at its 22 outlets.
The 140-year old business posted poorer than expected trading over the festive period. In December, KPMG were appointed to launch a strategic review of the company, including assessing for a potential sale.
Beales is majority-owned by Tony Brown since he led a management buyout of the firm in 2018.
Brown told the BBC's Today programme, 'We've only managed to get one council to help us out on a temporary basis. At the moment, in my view councils really don't care. They get their business rates, whether we're there or not, because the landlord pays if the store closes.'
Brown said that several options are being considered, including seeking a buyer, negotiating rent reductions with landlords, and restructuring the business by closing some stores.
In 2016, a Company Voluntary Arrangement was used to cut rents and close some stores.