Office Outlet is to shutter 16 stores and axe 160 jobs after administrators conceded that hopes of selling the business were fading.
A memo circulated to store managers and seen by Retail Week revealed that the shops, including locations in Manchester, Newcastle and London’s Old Kent Road, will close by April 10.
Deloitte, which was drafted in to handle the administration process last month, told store managers that “a sale of the business as a going concern is unlikely”.
However, the firm added in its memo that it was “still investigating whether parcels of the business can be sold”.
Administrators added that they had been “preparing contingency plans” in the event that the business cannot be sold, and said it was “with regret” that it would wind down the 16 shops.
Joint administrator Richard Hawes said: “While we are still open to a sale of the business in part or in whole, we cannot continue trading all the stores indefinitely in an administration process. Regrettably therefore we are announcing store closures that will result in a number of redundancies.
“We will be keeping staff informed of further developments in the coming weeks in what is a difficult time for all those involved.”
Hilco sold the 106-store chain in a management buyout just months after its purchase, but trading has continued to be turbulent. The new management team only launched a CVA last summer in a bid to slash its rental bill, but it was ultimately unable to fend off administration.
At the time of Deloitte’s appointment last month, Hawes blamed the “general downturn in trading” in stationery and the wider UK retail market, and a reduction in credit from “key suppliers” for its collapse.