The administrators of Vergo Retail, the department store group which owns Lewis’ in Liverpool, Joplings in Sunderland and Robbs in Hexham, is set to close nine of its stores within the next month in an attempt to stem losses and keep the rest of the business trading.

Administrators Sarah Bell and Steven Muncaster, partners at MCR, were appointed on Friday.

MCR confirmed in a statement that the nine stores - Sunderland, Hexham, Witam, Clacton on Sea, Stowmarket, Derry’s, Colchester Jewellery, Norwich and Dovercourt - were loss-making and that they would be shuttered within the next four weeks. The closures will result in 335 redundancies.

The Lewis’ of Liverpool branch, arguably one of the group’s most famous, had already been planned for closure prior to the business collapsing into administration last week.

The remaining 10 stores in the group will continue to trade while a buyer is sought. The administrator stressed that it would still seek buyers for the nine closing stores in the run up to their final trading dates.

Bell said: “Following a financial review of the business it was apparent it could not continue to trade in the short term without implementing immediate cost saving measures.  Regrettably, this means that 335 positions have been made redundant with effect from today. There is an opportunity for interested parties to come forward and rescue the remaining business as a going concern.”