Sir Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia, which includes Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, is understood to be on the brink of collapse.
Sir Philip had been in talks with potential lenders about borrowing £30m to help the business through Christmas.
However, these talks have failed and administrators could be appointed on Monday, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.
Arcadia said the pandemic “has had a material impact on trading across our businesses”.
“As a result, the Arcadia boards have been working on a number of contingency options to secure the future of the group’s brands. The brands continue to trade and our stores will be opening again in England and the Republic of Ireland as soon as the government Covid-19 restrictions are lifted next week.”
If administrators are called in, the shops will continue to trade as buyers for the company – or more likely its more successful brands – are lined up. Arcadia currently has around 500 shops.
Without the £30m loan, doubts had been raised about whether Arcadia would be able to survive after trading had been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Non-essential retailers in England have been forced to close for four weeks until 2 December to contain the spread of Covid-19.
As with many High Street chains that had to go into lockdown, Arcadia placed many of the group’s 15,000 workers on furlough.
Sir Philip is unlikely to buy back any of his brands if it does go into administration, which was first reported by Sky News.
Arcadia underwent restructuring last year through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).
Under the deal, it agreed to shut 50 shops, secured a rent cut with landlords on property and struck a deal with the Pension Protection Fund to put money into the company’s pension schemes.