More than 1,500 jobs are at risk after Bank Fashion became the first high street retailer to call in administrators following the Christmas sales rush.
Bank, which was owned by JD Sports until late November, could be the first of a wave of administrations on the high street after the festive period was dominated by discounting and a surge in online sales, which has piled pressure on traditional clothing retailers.
Deloitte has been appointed as administrator to Bank, which has 84 stores and 1,555 employees.
The retailer has struggled to make a profit for years and was offloaded by JD Sports in November to Hilco, the turnaround specialist. In the last financial year Bank made a loss of £8.1m.
It is understood that Hilco appointed a chief restructuring officer to try to draw up a turnaround plan for Bank, but could not find a solution. Hilco did not buy the secured debt on Bank, so it will be low on the list of creditors eligible for a payout from the administration.
Bill Dawson, joint administrator, said that Deloitte was trying to secure a deal to rescue Bank after receiving expressions of interest.
Mr Dawson said: "Bank has struggled in a highly competitive segment of the retail industry and has been loss-making for a number of years.
"A review of the business has determined that a solvent turnaround would not be possible and so its director has sought the appointment of joint administrators.
"All stores are open as normal, staff have been paid and additional sale discounts will be implemented later this week.
"The company has already been approached by several parties who have expressed an interest in the business and the administrators are trading as a going concern with a view to progressing these options and seeking further interested parties for some or all of the business”.