Debenhams will file for administration after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close its doors across the UK.
The department store said the move was to protect it from legal action from creditors while its stores are closed.
In a statement, Debenhams boss Stefaan Vansteenkiste described the circumstances as "unprecedented".
Mr Vansteenkiste said it will allow Debenhams "to resume trading from our stores when government restrictions are lifted".
It’s not yet known how many of its 142 stores would reopen after the crisis, which is expected to affect around 22,000 workers.
He added: "We are striving to protect jobs and reopen as many Debenhams stores for trading as we can, as soon as this is possible."
Debenhams said it has the support of its lenders to enter administration and is engaging with employees and suppliers over the move.
The retail giant has closed 22 shops in recent months as part of plans to shut 50 sites and bring its total estate to 110.
Stores in the Midlands at risk:
- Leamington Spa
- Merry Hill