Women’s fashion retailers Oasis and Warehouse are expected to appoint administrators soon, putting about 2,300 jobs at risk.
The owner of the High Street brands, Icelandic bank Kaupthing, had been in talks to sell the businesses before the coronavirus crisis.
However, the crisis, which has seen many shops temporarily close, has knocked the legs from under the sale.
The fashion retailers are expected to appoint Deloitte as administrators.
There is expected to be interest from bidders to buy the business, a source said, but with the current economic uncertainty, it is not clear how many jobs ultimately could be saved.
High Street retailers in the UK were facing a tough environment before the crisis, due to rising costs and changes in people’s shopping habits.
But the temporary closure of many shops due to the coronavirus pandemic has heaped more pressure on retailers.
As first reported by Sky News, after the administration begins, Deloitte is expected to furlough many of the employees who keep their jobs under the government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.