Fashion chain Republic has collapsed into administration, putting 2,500 jobs at risk.
Announcing the administration, the firm tweeted:
With its headquarters in Leeds, Republic operates 121 stores across the UK.
A Republic store in Westfield shopping centre in Stratford City
Joint Administrator, Hunter Kelly of Ernst & Young LLP said: “Republic suffered poor trading results in the Autumn, and whilst sales picked up in December there has been a sudden and rapid decline in sales in late January.
“The impact on cash flows has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of an insolvency process.
"Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make 150 employees at the head office in Leeds redundant.
“We will continue to trade Republic, with a view to selling the business as a going concern. The brand Republic is well recognised, particularly in the North.
"It has a powerful website offering, owns well-known brand names, and has some very attractive and profitable stores.
“We are grateful for the continued support of all employees and customers during this time, and would like to thank everyone at Republic for their commitment and hard work as the business continues to trade.”
The business began as a men's denim retailer in 1986 under the Best Jeans brand in Leeds.
It currently offers casual fashion, with brands including Jack Jones and SoulCal. Republic’s administration marks the fourth major retail administration in less than six weeks.
Retail recovery expert Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, told HuffPost UK that it was a damning blow for youth employment.
“As the administrators are called in for yet another high profile retailer this week, our key concerns are the impacts these collapses will have on youth unemployment and the potentially disastrous implications for the sector as it faces further pressures ahead," she said.
“It is the young workers who have historically filled these roles that will be hit hardest; the very same demographic whose spending power is the lifeblood of so many youth-targeted retailers on the high street today.
"The news comes hard on the heels of yesterday’s Court of Appeal decision, on the misuse of employment schemes by retailers, which highlighted the issues already facing the huge segment of the UK’s youth who are finding it hard to get back to work."
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