The budget retailer, which employs around 5,300 people and has stores in west Cumbria, is low on cash and is filing the notice because it will give the business protection from its creditors for two weeks.
Discount store Poundworld is the latest retailer to stand on the brink of collapse, according to reports.
Poundworld is set to announce its intention to appoint administrators, putting around 5,300 jobs at risk.
The retailer's management are understood to be in talks with other buyers, with founder Chris Edwards said to be among them.
The Telegraph understands TPG wants to buy time in order to push through a deal with Rcapital, the company behind Little Chef, either through a solvent sale or a pre-pack administration.
Earlier this week, talks with potential buyer Alteri Investors, whose website says it specialises in "challenging retail situations", broke down.
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Deloitte has been preparing contingency plans for an administration in the event of talks collapsing.
Poundworld's problems first surfaced in April when its owner, the American private equity firm TPG Capital, was said to be considering a plan to launch a CVA, an insolvency procedure that would enable it to reduce rents and close about 100 stores.
Poundworld's losses widened in 2016-17 to £17.1 million, from £5.4 million of losses the year before. Read about the House of Fraser and its Carlisle store here.
Poundworld has also expanded its product range in a bid to keep pace with rivals.
Retailers Maplins, Toys "R" Us, Mothercare, Carpetright, plus a string of restaurant chains, have hit the headlines this year because of trading trouble.