A third distributor has suspended supplies with Borders U.K., while wholesaler Gardners is also understood to have ceased trading with the chain.

Meanwhile, administrator BDO Stoy Hayward has refused to comment on reports that it could be appointed as administrators of Borders, if the retailer was to collapse.

Users of the borders.co.uk Web site are currently unable to place orders for new books. The entertainment part of the site, which sells CDs, DVDs and electrical items, is operating as normal.

Publishers received an email from Hachette-owned Littlehampton Book Services today (Nov. 23), saying that it was taking the temporary measure to withhold supply in light of the various media reports suggesting the retailer could be put into administration this week.

Phil McCloy, head of credit management for LBS, said via email: "As a precautionary measure we have suspended supplies while we clarify the situation, in addition we will provide you with an up date account reconciliation shortly."

This stance follows that last week of Random House-owned the Book Services Grantham Book Services, which said the two distributors had moved to "immediately stop Borders U.K. Ltd and Book Etc accounts" after Borders blocked a banked cheque payment.

This means trading between Borders U.K. and at least two of the big four publishers - Hachette UK and Random House - as well as the Faber-led Independent Alliance, is currently on stop.