The administrator to value fashion retailer Ethel Austin has earmarked half of its 270 stores for closure.

Corporate restructuring business MCR said 129 stores could close with a potential loss of about half of its 3,100 workforce. 90 of the affected stores are Ethel Austin fascias and the remainder come under the homewares banner Au Naturale.

In addition, 404 staff were made redundant from its warehouse and 65 at its head office this week.

Ethel Austin hit the buffers last week after being hit by a lack of banking facilities and poor trade in January.

MCR said it was continuing to search for a trade buyer for the remainder of the group.

Ethel Austin and Au Naturale were bought out of administration in 2008 by former MK One chief executive Elaine McPherson.