SHARES in Debenhams plunged more than ten per cent in morning trading after the troubled department store chain reported a steep fall in Christmas sales and revealed it has been holding talks with lenders over refinancing.

Debenhams, which has issued a series of profit warnings in recent months, said it has put further store disposals on hold until the outcome of the discussions with lenders is known.

The chain said that, amid a volatile UK trading environment, total sales fell 3.8 per cent in the six weeks to January 5, compared with the same period a year earlier.

The John Lewis Partnership has warned its annual staff bonus is under threat as it battles challenging trading conditions.

In a Christmas trading update, the department store chain saw like-for-like sales rise 1% in the seven weeks to January 5.

Comparable sales at sister chain Waitrose rose 0.3%.

Marks & Spencer also appeared to have had a challenging Christmas, with the high street bellwether reported a 2.2 per cent fall in same store sales over the festive period.

Chief executive Steve Rowe declared performance had been steady against “backdrop of well publicised difficult market conditions”.

Car giant Jaguar Land Rover will announce up to 5,000 job cuts in a business update later on Thursday, according to reports.

READ MORE: Jaguar Land Rover to slash jobs

The luxury carmaker employs 44,000 workers in the UK at sites in Halewood on Merseyside and Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

On the UK leisure scene, All Bar One owner Mitchells and Butlers declared it is "delighted" after bumper Christmas sales, but cautioned over Brexit uncertainty.

The pub group saw like-for-like sales rocket 12.3% higher over the busiest two weeks, with trade up 6.9% over the seven weeks overall to January 5.

It enjoyed more than £12 million in sales on December 25 - with new records set on all festive dates.