D2 Jeans has become the first notable post-Christmas retail casualty after the store chain collapsed into administration.
More than 200 staff have been made redundant and hundreds more jobs are under threat at the Dundonald, Ayrshire-based company.
Workers at 19 stores were laid off after the shops were closed, while the remaining 28 are being run as a going concern. Administrators are now looking for a buyer for parts or all of the business in an effort to save the jobs of hundreds more workers.
James Stephen, an administrator at BDO LLP, said: “It is unfortunate that the economic climate and extremely difficult trading conditions have significantly affected the retail sector.
“However, we are hopeful of securing a sale of all or part of the business and will continue to trade the business while this is explored.”
There are concerns the collapse into administration of D2 Jeans could be followed by some of the high street’s bigger names when they are hit with their quarterly rent bills.
Lingerie chain La Senza is among the retailers causing most concern after it revealed last week that it plans to enter administration in the coming days. The retailer has 146 stores and 18 concessions across the UK.
Blacks Leisure, owner of 208 Millets outlets and 98 Blacks stores, also faces speculation about potentially going into administration to allow rival chains to cherry-pick its best assets. The group employs about 3,600 staff.
But at D2 Jeans, administration has come for the second time in two years. It is thought that around 500 jobs were saved last time when management agreed to buy more than 40 of its stores out of administration, although 32 outlets were not part of the rescue deal.
A BDO spokeswoman was unable to confirm which of the company’s stores had been shut.
D2 Jeans operates stores around the UK, including outlets in Sheffield, Rochdale, Gloucester, Truro and Cambridge. The retailer also has four stores in Glasgow, along with shops in Falkirk, Hamilton, Dunfermline and Ayr.
It operates a number of stores in Northern Ireland, including five in Belfast, two in Bangor and one in Newry, Enniskillen and Omagh. D2 Jeans has three shops in Wales.