With JD Sports the only suitor left in the race to buy department store chain Debenhams, a deal could reportedly be reached by Christmas.

However, industry experts, the Guardian revealed, have forecasted that JD Sports – which is more interested in the department store’s website – could ditch as many as half of Debenhams’ 124 department stores, perhaps selling to rivals like Marks & Spencer and John Lewis.

This move would leave thousands of Debenhams employees’ jobs hanging in the balance, in a year that has already seen it cut thousands of jobs.

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Investors showed their distrust in a JD Sports takeover of Debenhams, with the former’s shares falling 6% yesterday after news of its exclusive talks with the department store were revealed.

This has been a bad year for Debenhams. It went into administration for the second time in a year in April, with its owners considering selling for several months.

Read more about the ailing chain’s disastrous 2020 below:

Debenhams considers liquidation as it consults restructuring firm