Furniture retailer MFI is understood to have called in corporate restructuring company Kroll Talbot Hughes (KTH) as the credit crunch bites.

MFI, which was bought by Merchant Equity Partners for£1 two years ago, told The Times that KTH had been brought in to bolster its “under-resourced finance function”. An MFI spokesman said: “KTH is helping with our financial reporting systems, operating issues and forecasting. This is not a restructuring issue.”

The move has prompted speculation about the future of the well-known furniture chains. The furniture sector has been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn. ScS Upholstery went into administration this month before Sun European Partners bought the trading operation. Earlier this year, Ilva Furniture and New Heights also hit the buffers.

MFI closed its Sunderland call centre earlier this month, with the loss of 170 jobs. In May, it also slashed about a third of its head office and central support staff.

KTH is an insolvency and restructuring expert that has worked on the restructuring of Marconi, Energis and Cordiant Communications in recent years.