Shares in crisis-hit Debenhams have dived by more than a fifth amid reports of difficulties with suppliers ahead of Christmas.

The stock lost ground at pace towards the end of Wednesday trading closing 21.4% lower, registering its worst ever daily decline.

The department store chain has, like rivals, been grappling financial pain from high costs and a slowdown in high street spending.

It used its annual results last month, which recorded the biggest financial loss in Debenhams’ 240-year history, to announce plans to close up to 50 stores to help fund a turnaround plan.

Its share price decline followed news that one of its main rivals House of Fraser, which was rescued from collapse by Mile Ashley’s Sports Direct in the summer, was to shut four stores because of the failure to agree new terms with landlords.

More follows…