Clothing store the latest shop to go out of fashion
THERE was a double dose of bad news for the High Street yesterday.
On the day that the Republic chain went into administration, putting thousands of jobs at risk, it was confirmed that three Blockbuster shops are to close in the Bristol area.
The news is the latest blow for the retail sector which has seen a series of high-profile collapses in the last three months, including HMV, Jessops and Comet.
Fashion chain Republic has two shops in the Bristol area at Cabot Circus and Cribbs Causeway.
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The decision to go into administration has put 2,500 jobs at risk, including around 50 in the Bristol area.
The Leeds-based company, which has 121 stores, appointed the accountancy firm Ernst & Young as administrators and one of its first acts was to make 150 staff at its head office redundant.
Hunter Kelly, one of the administrators, said Republic had suffered from a "very sudden and rapid decline in sales in late January".
He added: "The impact on cash flows has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of an insolvency process. Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make 150 employees at the head office in Leeds redundant."
The administrators said Republic would continue to trade "with a view to selling the business as a going concern".
He added: "The brand Republic is well recognised, particularly in the north. It has a powerful website offering, owns well-known brand names, and has some very attractive and profitable stores.
"We are grateful for the continued support of all employees and customers during this time, and would like to thank everyone at Republic for their commitment and hard work as the business continues to trade."
As reported in The Post, Blockbuster was forced to call in administrators last month. And yesterday the administrators announced the closure of shops in Filton, Gloucester Road and Shirehampton.
The move has seen 164 stores across the country close and the remaining branches will continue to trade as usual while talks are held with interested parties.
A spokesman for the administrator at Deloitte said: "There will be a number of closing down promotions across the stores to supplement those already on offer.
"Closing stores will remain open for business as usual and customers will be notified in advance of closure so that they can return their outstanding rental items beforehand. The standard rental terms and conditions remain in place during this time."
He added: "We have continued to review the performance of individual stores since our appointment a month ago and have concluded further closures are necessary in order to restructure the company for sale.
"We would like to thank the company's employees for their support and professionalism during this difficult time and we are also grateful for the continued support of customers.
"We are in discussions with a number of parties interested in purchasing all or parts of the business and will update on progress in due course."