Icelandic retail investor Baugur - which owns stakes in some of the UK's best known retailers including Hamleys, House of Fraser and Iceland - has applied to the District Court in Reykjavik to enter a moratorium process, which allows it to stop paying creditors for a three-week period.
The application apparently involves Baugur Group and a number of its wholly owned subsidiaries, and was taken to protect the group's assets as well as the interests of all creditors, according to a statement.
In the UK, Landsbanki - which had been in discussions about restructuring the group - applied for BG Holdings, which holds Baugur's stakes in British retailers, to be put into administration.
A Hamleys spokesperson has been quoted on BBC News saying that the application will have no direct impact on its business and it will continue to "operate successfully as a self-funded stand alone business with no shareholder funding requirements for either short-term operations or long-term development".
Meanwhile, a report on Reuters has said that turnaround specialist Alchemy Partners is looking at some of the assets.