Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
2013 is set to be the year of hell for the British High Street, as fashion retailer Republic has joined the high-profile names to go bust this year. The youth fashion brand - which brings together a host of labels and its own fashions - has 121 stores in the UK, and employs around 2,500 people.
It had been bought by a private equity firm in 2010, who had high hopes for the chain, and had wanted to double the number of stores on Britain's high streets. Sky
reported that it has injected around £20 million into the chain during 2012. However, it has been brought to its knees by the recession.
The Financial Times
was the first to highlight the risk of administration. It said that the group faced huge trading disappointments, especially as so many of its stores are in the North of the country - which is suffering disproportionally in the recession.
It was known to be working hard to keep the brand alive. It had brought in accountants to advise on store closures, and executive change was on the agenda. It was trying to renegotiate shop rental deals. However, it is thought that the problems were just too big for the chain to handle.
According to the BBC
, Ernst & Young has been lined up as administrator and it's hoped the business will sell as a going concern.
What does it mean for you?
At the moment, the company is trading as normal, and the website is still taking orders. If you have credit or gift vouchers with the company, it may be wise to go in store and spend it while you still can.
Some companies have been accepting these while they are in administration, but they are not compelled to do so.
With the demise of hundreds of former Jessops, Blockbuster and HMV stores already this year, there's the real risk that many high streets will become ghost towns over the course of this year.
But what do you think? Is there any hope for British high streets? Let us know in the comments.
Mothercare has long been battling tough highstreet conditions and continues to struggle against competition from rival Kiddicare as well as supermarkets and websites. In an attempt to boost profits, the baby products retailer recently launched a new-look 30,000 square foot store in north London, including an area to test buggies and prams plus a Costa Coffee.</p>
Despite recruiting famous yummy mummy, Mylene Class, to front the opening, and launching Jools Oliver's Little Bird collection in stores last week, City pundits warn it could be a case of too little too late.</p>
- Clinton Cards
The greetings cards specialist became the latest highstreet casualty in May with 8,000 jobs on the line when it was forced it into administration. Its biggest supplier, American Greetings, then bought Clintons out of administration and put the retailer through a rebrand including a new logo and complete in-store revamps.</p>
Its contemporary format includes new fixtures and fittings and easier to navigate stores, and will be rolled out to all 400 UK stores at the cost of £16million. Bosses aim to bring the brand back to profit within two years.</p>
- Thomas Cook
Battling high debt levels and a downturn in the global travel sector, Thomas Cook was brought back from the brink by a £1.4bn refinancing packaging in May, giving it a further three years to repay its debts. Soon after, the firm recruited new chief executive Harriet Green, who faces the task of reviving the travel company which last year issued three profit warnings and was forced to take an emergency £200m loan.</p>
The troubled tour operator hit difficulty in 2011 when the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa affected its operations in Egypt and Tunisia. The position worsened due to a fall in overall bookings by cash-strapped UK consumers, as well as the company's high debt levels.</p>
- La Senza
Poor sales in the run up to Christmas was the final nail in the coffin for several struggling chains, including lingerie retailer La Senza, which went bust in January 2012 with 146 shops and 2,600 staff. Kuwaiti retailer Alshaya bought part of the business, which saved 60 shops and 1,000 staff.</p>
La Senza has been struggling in a similar way to other specialist shops such as Game and Mothercare, which have been hit by cut-price competition at supermarkets and have no alternative products to help shoulder losses.</p>
- Blacks Leisure
Stricken retailer Blacks Leisure, which employed 3,600 staff across 98 Blacks stores and 208 Millets stores, went into administration in Janurary 2012 after failing to find an outright buyer.</p>
Soon after its stores were bought by sportswear firm JD Sports in pre-pack deal - an insolvency procedure which sees a company being sold immediately after it has entered administration – which saw most of Blacks' £36 million of debt wiped out.</p>
Fashion chain Bonmarche, which was part of the Peacock Group, was sold in January when the group collapsed due to unsustainable debts, resulting in 1,400 job losses and 160 store closures. Private equity firm Sun European Partners bought 230 stores, which continue to trade with 2,400 staff.</p>
Administrators sounded the death knell for Woolworths in December 2008, leading to store closures that left 27,000 people out of work. Since its collapse former Woolworths stores have become a blight in many town centres and more than 100 of the large stores still lay vacant in January 2012.</p>
Loyal customers didn't have go without the family favourite store for long however as it reappeared online as Woolworths.co.uk in 2009, after Shop Direct Home Shopping bought out the Woolworths name.</p>
Peacocks collapsed under a £740 million net debt mountain in January 2012 in the biggest retail failure since Woolworths. Despite being sold out of administration to Edinburgh Woollen Mill in a deal that saved 380 stores and 6,000 jobs, administrators from KPMG were forced to close 224 stores with immediate effect. This lead to 3,350 redundancies from stores and Peacocks head office in Cardiff.</p>
The high street name continues trading as bosses work to stabilise the situation, yet a further blow was dealt this month with news that the firm's pension fund is in £15.8 million shortfall as a result of the collapse.</p>
Game buckled under its £85m debt pile in March 2012 and was placed into administration after being unable to pay a £21m rent bill. Administrator PwC immediately closed 277 shops, with the loss of 2,000 jobs. Soon after, investment firm, OpCapita bought 333 Game stores, saving more than 3,000 jobs.</p>
Game's demise followed a string of profit warnings and the failure of nervous suppliers, including leading names Electronic Arts and Nintendo, to go on providing the latest games, further damaging poor sales.</p>