DEBENHAMS’ Bolton branch is in imminent danger of closure after the chain’s last remaining rescue bidder JD Sports pulled out of talks.

As a result, around 12,000 jobs around the country have been put at risk around the country with the outlet based in The Market Place on Knowsley Street one of 130 nationwide looking set to shut down.

It is understood the store will remain open between now and Christmas and should still be trading in the new year.

Political, business and trade union leaders have also expressed their disappointment at the news with employment lawyer Adam Pennington highlighting just how hard this will be for the workforce.

He said: “For thousands of workers this news will come as a hammer blow, particularly so close to Christmas.

“Over the course of this pandemic we have witnessed the retail and hospitality sector freefall into distress and the knock-on effect this has had on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“Since the beginning of the first lockdown and despite the various government support packages, we have seen a huge increase in retailers seeking legal support as they enter redundancy consultations with staff.

“If neither Debenhams or Arcadia can be salvaged it’s crucial that workers are aware of their legal rights, the obligations of their employer and the options open to them even when their employer is insolvent.”

This announcement comes only months after Bolton’s branch of the retailer was saved from closure in January, even as 19 others closed their doors around the country.

Meanwhile, USDAW shop workers union general secretary Paddy Lillis said that employees have not been treated fairly.

He said: “It is devastating news for our high streets that Debenhams’ administrators have announced a closure programme.

“Throughout Debenhams’ difficulties the company and then administrators have refused to engage with USDAW, the staff are being treated appallingly and we don’t believe the law has been complied with in the past."

He added: “Over the summer redundancies were made by conference call, with no meaningful consultation or proper notice period, as required by law.

“That must not happen again, and we urge the administrators to engage with USDAW, the trade union for Debenhams staff.

“It is crucial that their voice is heard, and they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”