Philip Green is preparing to launch a dramatic restructuring plan for his retail empire, which could come at the cost of hundreds of jobs.
The tycoon's Arcadia Group, which owns chains including TopShop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, is preparing to unveil a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).
The plans, first reported by Sky News, could still be delayed or halted depending on talks with stakeholders.
The insolvency mechanism has been used by a slew of major retailers over the past year, frequently resulting in the closure of some stores and resulting job losses.
The group could also use the process to seek a change to rent terms from landlords, including substantial reductions.
The formal talks with landlords are expected to begin in the next few weeks while the restructuring process could be formally launched as early as next month.
Any proposal would require the approval of creditors including landlords and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) at a vote.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR), the UK's regulator for workplace pension schemes, confirmed to Press Association that it is aware of the situation.
A spokesman for TPR said: "We are in close discussions with the trustees of the pension scheme. We will not be commenting further at this time."
It emerged in January that the business had hired advisers at Deloitte to explore a restructuring plan, prompted by a decline in sales and profits.
Deloitte declined to comment on Friday.
The news comes just weeks after Baroness Karren Brady resigned from Arcadia's parent company Taveta, following the emergence of harassment allegations against Sir Philip.