Discount department store group TJ Hughes collapsed into administration this morning, Retail Week has learned.
Former owner Endless, the private equity group, is said to be considering buying back 30 of the stores and continuing to trade them as TJ Hughes.
All shops remain open and trading at present and staff wages have been paid in full.
On Monday Ernst & Young was put on standby as the retailer filed an intention to appoint administrators.
TJ Hughes has suffered in the wake of having its credit insurance removed. Jittery suppliers stopped dealing with the retailer, which contributed to a 19% slump in like-for-likes in recent months.
Endless said: “We have provided TJ Hughes with working capital since March when it was about to fail and knew then that pulling it back from the brink was going to be difficult.
“Trading at the business has continued to be significantly down on last year as a result of difficult retail conditions and the loss of supplier and credit insurer confidence.
“Sadly, on this occasion, a rescue of the company has not been possible and we will now focus on helping the administrator save stores and jobs.”