Outdoor gear specialist Blacks Leisure is to be put into administration ahead of the sale of its assets.

The embattled retailer has received final offers from parties interested in acquiring its operations, understood to include rivals Sports Direct, JD Sports and Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Peter Jones.

Blacks’ directors had already indicated that shareholder equity in the business was worthless.

A sale of the business assets, however, is likely to mean the bulk of stores continue trading and most of the 3,500 jobs at Blacks will be preserved. A deal is likely to be struck within the next few days.

Blacks said: “The Board has determined that any sale of the trade, assets and brands will be effected through an administration process.

“Therefore it is expected that the process to commence the appointment of administrators of the company and certain of its subsidiaries will begin shortly, although the actual appointments are only likely to take effect just before the completion of any such sale.”

In the meantime all Blacks’ stores, including the Millets chain as well as eponymous shops, will continue to trade.

KPMG partners Brian Green, Richard Fleming and David Costley-Wood, are expected to be appointed administrators.