Footwear chain Shoe Zone is understood to have bought Stead & Simpson in a deal that is likely to be finalised today.

Shoe Zone, which last year bought Shoefayre, is expected to buy more than 300 stores of the Stead & Simpsons remaining 375 shops. Private retailer Clinkards has also taken over about 12 of the stores. Stead & Simpson is likely to be placed into administration and Shoe Zone will then take over.

The deal is expected to save about 3,000 jobs and the head office in Leicester has been secured. The existing Stead & Simpson management are expected to move on.

Stead & Simpson, whose brands include Shoe Express, Lilley & Skinner and Peter Briggs, was put up for sale at the end of last year. It has sold 25 factory outlet stores trading as Famous Footwear to Harvey Jacobson, owner of brands including Gola, Ravel, Lotus and Frank Wright.