Jones Bootmaker has filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator, Retail Week can reveal.
The embattled footwear business, which was acquired by Alteri along with sister retailer Brantano one-and-a-half years ago, was put up for sale last month.
One source close to the situation told Retail Week that “a number of very credible” offers were lodged for the retailer ahead of last night’s deadline for bids.
However, Retail Week understands Jones has experienced ongoing “cash flow challenges” during the bidding process and filed the notice last Friday in an effort to ward off potential enforcement action from creditors seeking to recover debts.
According to documents seen by Retail Week, Jones was also served with a winding up petition on Friday.
Property sources told Retail Week that a pre-pack administration was “the most likely outcome”, but it is thought that “a number” of the parties interested in acquiring Jones want to buy it as a going concern.
As previously reported, Alteri drafted in KPMG to advise on options for Jones, which has suffered amid a challenging retail market.
Alteri bought Jones Bootmaker and Brantano in a £12m deal in October 2015 and has since invested in the business, launching new product ranges and improving its website.
It also drafted in former Links of London boss David Riddiford as chief executive last autumn in a bid to transform its fortunes, but trading has continued to be turbulent.
A host of fashion and footwear retailers are grappling with a fiercely competitive trading landscape, which has been exacerbated by the weakening of the pound, the rise of the living wage and the impending hike in business rates.
Last year Jones’ stablemate Brantano was put through a pre-pack administration. The deal enabled it to exit around 60 of its unprofitable stores and preserve 1,400 jobs.