Landlords of shoe brand Clarks have approved a plan which will allow the struggling chain to pay no rent on many of its stores, as part of a rescue of the 195-year-old company.

The business said that 90 per cent of its creditors, which include landlords, have voted for its proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

It clears a major hurdle for the rescue of Clarks, spearheaded by private equity money from Hong Kong-based LionRock Capital.

“I am very pleased that the CVA was approved today. This is a significant step towards the formation of our new partnership with LionRock Capital,” said Philip de Klerk, Clarks’ interim chief executive.

The deal still needs approval from shareholders before LionRock can take a majority stake in the business.

Earlier this month, Clarks said that the CVA would allow it to continue paying staff, and that no jobs would be lost. All 320 stores will remain open, but rent will be slashed to zero on 60 of them. The rest of the shops will pay rent that is calculated by the amount of cash that the shop takes in.