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Fashion chain Republic is in administration
1:11pm Wednesday 13th February 2013 in News
FASHION chain Republic has collapsed into administration after sales declined in late January.
Ernst & Young, administrator to the group, said the 121 shops, including the branch on the High Street, would continue to trade while it looks for a buyer for the business.
Republic, which started as a men's denim retailer in 1986 under the Best Jeans brand in Leeds, was hit by a "sudden and rapid decline" in sales at the end of last month after poor trading results over the autumn.
Ernst said it had made 150 staff redundant at Republic's headquarters in Leeds.
Administrator Hunter Kelly 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.
He added: "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."
Republic, which targets the competitive youth fashion market, sells brands including Jack Jones, SoulCal, Diesel and Firetrap. It was bought by private equity firm TPG in June 2010 in a deal worth around £300 million, with the founders understood to have retained a significant stake.
Republic's focus in the north of England - an area that has been hit particularly badly by the recession - is thought to have contributed to the poor trading.
Mr Kelly said the impact of recent poor results on cash flow had meant the business was unable to continue to operate outside of an insolvency process.
He said: "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."
- Another 164 stores at DVD and games rental firm Blockbuster are to shut, administrators for the chain announced today.
The latest planned closures, which threaten around 800 jobs, come on top of the 168 shops already identified for closure by Deloitte.
The store in Ambleside Drive, Warndon, is one of those due to close, but the store in Shrub Hill Retail Park is safe for now.
Blockbuster collapsed last month amid competition from internet firms and the digital streaming of movies and games.