UK department store chain Debenhams Plc is looking to make a return to the stock market, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

The business went private at the end of 2003 following a drawn-out £1.7 billion takeover battle.

It is believed that a number of banks are due to meet with the company's executives over the coming weeks to negotiate a possible return to public ownership.

UK retailers have seen generally poor sales since Christmas.

A report published last November by retail consultancy company Verdict showed that UK department stores are losing their hold on the clothing market due to the growing popularity of supermarkets and specialised retailers as places to purchase clothes.