Debenhams is set to wind down the business and close all 124 stores after JD Sports ended discussions over a rescue deal for the struggling department store chain.

Administrators to 242-year-old department store chain, which has been seeking a buyer since the summer, said the sale process had “not resulted in a deliverable proposal”.

This means all 12,000 employees are likely to lose their jobs.

They will continue to seek a buyer while stores will remain open to sell off remaining stock. If no buyer is found once that stock is sold, the stores will close.

“On conclusion of this process, if no alternative offers have been received, the UK operations will close,” the company said in statement.

Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory, joint administrator to Debenhams and partner at FRP, said: “All reasonable steps were taken to complete a transaction that would secure the future of Debenhams.

“However, the economic landscape is extremely challenging and, coupled with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry, a viable deal could not be reached.

“The decision to move forward with a closure programme has been carefully assessed and, while we remain hopeful that alternative proposals for the business may yet be received, we deeply regret that circumstances force us to commence this course of action.

“We are very grateful for the efforts of the management team and staff who have worked so hard throughout the most difficult of circumstances to keep the business trading.”