Struggling retailer JJB Sports will finalise a restructuring plan to help secure its future within two weeks, it has been reported.
Wigan-based JJB warned last month that it would need fresh funds to pay for its store refurbishment programme sooner than it had expected as it battles dire trading figures and rising debts, although it did not set a date.
The Independent understands that the management has now been given a deadline of September 5 to submit the proposals for a financial restructuring to put it on firmer footing, which is sooner than had been expected.
All of JJB's major shareholders are thought to be participating in the talks but it is unclear if the timeframe has been imposed by Lloyds Banking Group, the retailer's main lender, or by the group's management.
JJB, which declined to comment today, has been involved in a long-running survival battle after a slump in sales and a string of profit warnings as it struggles to compete with buoyant rivals such as Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley's Sports Direct.
The company secured its most recent lifeline just three months ago when it landed £20m from US retailer Dick's Sporting Goods and a further £10m was raised from existing shareholders, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It earmarked £20m of the most recent funding on converting 60 of its most important stores in 2012 and 2013 into a new format that during trials produced much-improved sales and margins.
But it admitted last month that it would need additional funds for the programme sooner than it had expected.
The former boss of lingerie chain La Senza, Beverley Williams, was recently appointed as interim chief executive at JJB in a move that will see her work alongside US retail recovery specialist Bob Corliss.
The group has 180 stores and employs 4,000 people.