UK sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion confirmed that it pulled out of the potential acquisition of the UK business of multinational retailer Debenhams.

The company, interested in Debenhams UK, hoped to take over almost half of the group’s 124 stores.

In response to press speculation that followed Arcadia’s collapse, JD Sports issued a statement confirming its stand.

The statement read as: “JD Sports Fashion Plc, the leading retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands, confirms that discussions with the administrators of Debenhams regarding a potential acquisition of the UK business have now been terminated.”

Debenhams, which employs about 12,000 people, fell into administration in April for the second time in a year.

In August, the retailer appointed Hilco Capital to create contingency plans.

Now, Debenhams has confirmed that its administrators, FRP Advisory, concluded the initial sale process for the UK business.

As part of this, they decided that a wind-down of Debenhams UK should commence.

Meanwhile, it will continue to trade through its 124 UK outlets and online. If no alternative offers come through, UK operations will wrap up.

FRP Advisory joint administrator to Debenhams Geoff Rowley 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.”