Debenhams is reportedly in talks with Aviva about a buyout of its executive pension scheme.

The department store retailer is understood to be in advanced talks with Aviva about the buyout of the scheme, which holds just over £200m of assets, according to Sky News.

The talks are likely to be contentious if they result in a deal, as the deal would not protect the pension liabilities for the majority of Debenhams’ workforce.

Sources told Sky News that trustees of the main Debenhams retirement scheme were looking to secure a similar deal with a consolidation vehicle such as The Pension Superfund or Clara Pensions.

However, it is understood that the pension scheme for the majority of Debenhams’ workforce has a substantial deficit.

Debenhams is now privately owned, but its most recent annual report, which was published in 2018, showed that its executive pension scheme was fully funded as of 2017.

The department store retailer began shuttering the 19 stores earmarked for closure this year following its CVA this week, with all exits in the first tranche of closures set to be completed by January 25.