Womenswear chain Fenn Wright Manson has filed an intention to appoint an administrator.
The retailer has ten days to appoint an administrator.
The chain, which has 17 stores as well as concessions in John Lewis and House of Fraser, is working with restructuring specialist Zolfo Cooper to secure its survival.
The retailer was bought by Darwin in October 2010 in a deal which saw its last remaining founder Colin Fenn exit the business. Performance is understood to have deteriorated since Darwin took ownership.
Four of Fenn Wright Manson’s directors, Anju Mahbubani, Patrick Hollwey, Sharon Jones and Claire Lawrence, have recently left the business.