Updated: The assets of Principles will be sold to department store group Debenhams imminently, Retail Week has learnt.

It is understood that the deal is for the Principles brand name and stock and not its portfolio of 90 standalone stores. It leaves the future of some 2,500 jobs hanging in the balance.

Principles staff have been informed of the store closures today. The number of standalone stores earmarked for closure is unclear.

Debenhams has Principles concessions across its 150-plus UK and Ireland store portfolio. The retailer is pursuing an own-brand strategy to drive sales and margins.

Debenhams has fought off competition from former Principles chief executive Peter Davies, who wanted to acquire the business as a going concern.

After Principles parent company Mosaic fell in to administration on Monday, Davies was unable to secure the funding in time to acquire the brand from administrators Deloitte.

Debenhams and Deloitte declined to comment.