Stationery chain Paperchase has put administrators on standby as it races to find a rescue buyer.
Sky News reported that Begbies Traynor has been lined up to handle any potential insolvency, which would potentially include store closures.
The firm has suffered since the pandemic and was only recently saved in January 2021 before retail investor Steve Curtis took the chain on in August 2022 before putting it up for sale just four months later.
Paperchase, which faces rising costs and poor sales, now requires additional funding.
It has been put up for auction under the advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Bidders could include Hilco, a restructuring firm, which attempted to buy the stationery retailer last summer.
A spokesman for Paperchase said: “We confirm that we have retained BTG and PwC to advise Paperchase on strategic options, including the sale of the business as a going concern to new owners.
“Talks are continuing with a number of interested parties.
“All Paperchase stores and the website will continue to trade as normal during this period.
“We can’t comment further on this process until discussions with interested parties have been concluded.”