The credit crunch claimed yet another high street victim this week, as kitchen and cookware retailer ProCook plunged into administration.

The 39-store chain sells through high street shops, outlet villages and online. Based in Cheltenham, it employs 261 staff, including 20 at its head office. The future of the staff was unknown as Retail Week went to press.

Richard Hill and Joff Pope of KPMG Restructuring have been appointed as joint administrators at ProCook. Pope said: “Unfortunately, the rapid expansion into the high street has coincided with a time of tough trading for the retail sector, which means the business has hit problems.

“Trading will continue as normal while we seek a buyer for the business as a going concern.”

ProCook began as The Professional Cookware Company, a small family business, in 1993. It started out selling pans at exhibitions and through magazines.

There is speculation that the ProCook management team may be interested in buying back the business from administration.

Last week, Icelandic-owned furniture chain Ilva Furniture collapsed after failing to conquer the UK market. Other big-ticket retailers have found trading treacherous, with ScS Upholstery and Land of Leather both locked in emergency rescue talks after a raft of profit warnings. Upmarket furniture retailer New Heights fell into administration in May.

Sleep Depot, The Works, Ethel Austin and Dolcis have also fallen by the wayside this year.