One of Britain’s oldest shoe retailers is preparing for dozens of permanent store closures by deploying an insolvency mechanism that it had previously denied was under consideration.

Sky News is reporting that it has learnt that a rescue deal for Clarks led by LionRock Capital, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, is contingent upon the approval by creditors of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

The closure of 50 stores would see significant job cuts. Clarks has a store at The Old Market in Hereford.