Clarks has drafted in management consultants to conduct a review of the ailing high street business amid fear of store closures and possible job losses.

The family-owned shoe retailer has bought in consultants from McKinsey & Co as it works to restructure the business, which has 553 shops across the UK and Ireland, employing around 12,000 people.

The ailing brand has also lost its finance director Paul Kenyon, who is leaving for the Independent Vetcare chain, chaired by former WHSmith boss Kate Swann, according to The Sunday Times.

Clarks has hired Philip de Klerk, formerly of materials maker Low & Bonar, as Kenyon’s replacement on an interim basis.

In August, Clarks demanded rent reductions of up to 30% from landlords in exchange for extending leases on some stores, in a bid to overcome a spell of poor trading on the high street.

Earlier this month, Clarks reported losses after tax of £82.9m for the year to February 2, 2019. Group sales fell to £1.46bn, while operating profits fell to a loss of £75.7m, from a profit of £29.3m the previous year.

Clarks blamed “challenging” high street conditions in the UK and USA, and “onerous” lease conditions for its poor performance.

The retailer has had a turbulent year, and last month won a tribunal against former chief executive Mike Shearwood, who had been dismissed for inappropriate behaviour.

It also closed its last UK manufacturing hub in Somerset, with the loss of 35 jobs, and appointed Giorgio Presca as its new chief executive.

A spokesperson for Clarks said: “As part of this work Clarks has appointed McKinsey & Company to support the strategy of renewing the relevance of our brand to consumers and our partners.

“At this stage, we are unable to share any specific details of this strategy, however, we can confirm that we are transforming the brand to reconnect with our consumers by designing iconic new products and launching an exciting new brand and marketing strategy that is already engaging consumers across the world.

“Clarks is one of the few brands in the world with authenticity, a place in fashion history and a cult followership that sets us apart from other brands. Our new strategy will allow the business to capitalise on the momentum that our Clarks Originals products such as the Desert Boot and Wallabee are experiencing, and to meet our ambition of returning the business to sustainable levels of growth and profitability by 2023.”