Debt-laden US retailer A&P saw its shares plummet today (13 October) after a report claimed the business was contacting restructuring advisers for guidance on how to improve its balance sheet.

A&P, which announced net debt of US$1.3bn when it posted its full-year results in May, held talks with restructuring shops during the summer, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ cited a person close to A&P who said the retailer had contacted a number of financial advisers.

The sources who revealed the summer talks said the negotiations had partly focused on around $157m in convertible bonds due in June.

However, the person close to A&P said the company was looking at its entire balance sheet. A&P had not considered bankruptcy as an option, the person told the WSJ.

The retailer could not be reached for immediate comment. Shares in A&P were down 14.6% at $3.41 at 13:21 ET. At one stage, the company’s stock had fallen to $3.14, a fall of 21%.

Over the last two months, A&P has announced plans to sell 32 stores as part of its plan to turn around the business.

The retailer has had a turbulent 18 months. The company posted ballooning losses in the year to the end of 27 February and is on its second chief executive in 2010, with Martin replacing Ron Marshall in July.