Upscale department store retailer Neiman Marcus is keeping tight-lipped regarding reports it has hired investment bank Lazard Ltd to help restructure its debt.

According to an article published by Reuters, the retailer is in "immediate risk" of bankruptcy and has turned to Lazard to explore ways to "bolster its balance sheet" as it seeks relief from a debt burden of US$4.9bn.

Speaking to just-style, a Neiman Marcus spokesperson said the company does not comment on rumours or speculation but did say the company "routinely" retains consultants and advisors to "evaluate opportunities to create long-term value for our associates, customers and other stakeholders and will continue to do so moving forward."

Lazard, meanwhile, declined to comment. 

Earlier this year the retail group withdrew is initial public offering, publishing a statement that said it was not in the company's best interests to proceed.

Neiman Marcus abandons IPO plans