Negotiations for the sale of six northern centres that NWF announced were for sale last month due to lack of return of investment are believed to be near completion.
Klondyke chairman Bob Gault said: "NWF was very bullish when it bought or leased the centres. They outbid other people including Wyevale, and us for one or two.
"I'm amazed at what they paid. Now problems are coming home to roost."
Gault said he would not bid for non-freehold centres. Four NWF centres are leased.
Dobbies, also tipped to buy the centres which turn over about £20m a year, refused to make a comment on the rumoured sale.
NWF Group company secretary Rob Andrew said: "The sale process is continuing. We hope to finalise it over the next month."
He would not comment that management would buy out the centres.