Fashion chain Republic has plunged into administration as 150 head office staff have been made redundant.

Ernst & Young has been appointed as administrator for the 121-store retailer which employs 2,500 people.

Ernst & Young joint 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.

“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.”

The administrator will continue to trade Republic as it looks to sell the business as a going concern.

Kelly added:  “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. “

The demise of Republic comes on the back of Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster which all crashed into administration last month.

Private equity firm TPG acquired Republic in June 2010 in a deal valuing the retailer at about £300m. It had vowed to double to retailer’s store count however it has backtracked over the past year.

It has been in talks with landlords to move to monthly rents and had been vying to shed stores. However, it is understood that talks have been unsuccessful.

The retailer, which is run by former TK Maxx boss Paul Sweetenham, lost its chairman, former Asda chief executive Andy Bond at the end of January.