Value retailer Ethel Austin is understood to be in advanced stages of negotiations to secure a refinancing deal.

According to The Independent, Ethel Austin is understood to be poised to strike a deal with an unnamed investor to drive working capital into the business.

Elaine McPherson, who bought the retailer out of administration in 2008, is believed to have put £5.5m in to the Merseyside-based business.

Some suppliers are understood to have not received payment for bills due before Christmas.

However, the business is poised to expand its 300 store portfolio and denied that it was in trouble.

McPherson also bought homewares retailer Au Naturale out of administration in 2008 shortly after the Ethel Austin acquisition and converted stores to sell both chains’ products.