Struggling department store House of Fraser is said to have begged for emergency funding to help it survive the crisis on the High Street.
The retailer is said to have approached American hedge funds for up to £40million so it can get back on its feet.
House of Fraser, which is owned by Chinese billionaire Yuan Yafei, is fighting for survival as customers abandon stores to shop online.
Funding plea: House of Fraser, which is owned by Chinese billionaire Yuan Yafei, is fighting for survival as customers stores to shop online
A string of senior staff have quit amid fears that its owners are not investing enough to keep it afloat.
House of Fraser, which has 59 stores and employs 17,500 people, is already burdened with debts of £400million, and its prospects were hit further by a sales slump over Christmas.
It is supported by banks, including HSBC, which have reportedly recruited the accountancy firm Ernst & Young to advise on how they can protect their investment.
Bosses allegedly asked the US-backed turnaround company Alteri Investors for help, but talks fizzled out two weeks ago.