As Borders Group Inc. asks publishers for leniency on paying bills, the bookstore chain has been in discussions with restructuring advisers about ways to rework its debt-heavy balance sheet, said people familiar with the matter.

Borders has been in talks with Wall Street firms that have worked on many high-profile bankruptcies and other types of restructuring deals, the people said.

Restructuring advisers at investment bank Jefferies & Co. are among those in talks to represent the struggling book retailer and advise it on reworking its debt load, the people said.

Borders doesn't currently have plans to bring aboard bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers, one of these people said, and doesn't contemplate filing for bankruptcy at this time.

"As we have previously said, we are in discussions with potential lenders for replacement financing and are meeting with certain vendors to discuss financing arrangements," a Borders spokeswoman said. "We are seeking to restructure our finances and are not in a liquidity crisis."

Lenders led by Bank of America Corp. and General Electric Co.'s GE Capital last year provided Borders with up to $970 million in loans under a revolving credit line. The bookstore chain also has $90 million in loans that rank below that.

The senior creditors have collateral consisting of substantially all of Borders' inventory, accounts receivable and cash. The lower-ranking creditors, which include Gordon Brothers Merchant Partners, an affiliate of Stone Tower Capital and funds managed by Tennenbaum Capital Partners, have a "second-priority" interest in the same collateral. These lenders also have collateral that include Borders ownership interests and intellectual property.

Borders shook up the book-retailing and publishing businesses last week when it said it would delay payments to some vendors as part of an effort to refinance its senior credit facility. The company said there "can be no assurance that it will be successful" in its refinancing efforts, which could lead to a violation of its debt terms in the next three months. That, in turn, could cause Borders to "experience a liquidity shortfall," the retailer said.

Borders is in talks with GE Capital for new debt that would replace the company's existing senior credit facility, according to people familiar with the situation. As part of those discussions, GE Capital asked Borders to explore whether vendors might be willing to delay receiving payments, these people said.

GE declined to comment.

Borders has been asking publishers to exchange their receivables for interest-bearing promissory notes, according to people familiar with the plans.

Jefferies is among many Wall Street firms that advise companies and creditors during balance-sheet restructurings, often—but not always—through bankruptcy-protection filings. Jefferies is representing Blockbuster Inc. bondholders and has advised creditors of Circuit City and hotel-chain Extended Stay Inc.

The mere discussions with, or hiring of, such firms doesn't necessarily mean a company will file for bankruptcy. Jefferies, like many of its competitors, usually tries to craft ways for companies to survive without seeking Chapter 11 protection before resorting to bankruptcy court to wash away a firm's onerous liabilities.

Borders posted dismal financial results for the quarter ended Oct. 30, its most recent earnings disclosure. The retailer reported a loss of $74.4 million, widening from $37.7 million during the same time period a year ago.

The bookstore chain has been squeezed as Internet retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -3.18% Amazon.com Inc. U.S.: Nasdaq $323.00 -10.62 -3.18% April 4, 2014 4:00 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) : 12.50M AFTER HOURS $321.65 -1.35 -0.42% April 4, 2014 7:59 pm Volume (Delayed 15m): 33,892 P/E Ratio 547.46 Market Cap $148.34 Billion Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per Employee $634,714 04/05/14 Navy Drones With a Mind of The... 04/04/14 Amazon Teases Home Barcode Sca... 04/04/14 Crystal Ball: Test Your Predic... More quote details and news » draw consumers away from traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. On another flank, Barnes & Noble, BKS -5.44% Barnes & Noble Inc. U.S.: NYSE $18.08 -1.04 -5.44% April 4, 2014 4:00 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) : 2.66M AFTER HOURS $17.93 -0.15 -0.83% April 4, 2014 7:04 pm Volume (Delayed 15m): 9,231 P/E Ratio N/A Market Cap $1.08 Billion Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per Employee $186,367 04/03/14 U.S. Stocks End Lower 04/03/14 Liberty Media to Reduce Barnes... 03/19/14 Time to Move on: Sony Shuts Do... More quote details and news » the U.S.'s largest bookstore chain by revenue, has outmaneuvered Borders in the in the move to digital books and e-readers.

Write to Mike Spector at mike.spector@wsj.com