Jobs at risk as fasion retailer Republic plunged into administration
Republic is among stores
to be hit by the spending downturn
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
Dozens of Kent jobs are at risk after clothing retailer
Republic collapsed into administration today.
The 120-store fashion chain - which has four branches
in Kent - became the latest high street casualty.
Ernst and Young has been appointed administrator to examine
the finances and see whether any parts of the business can be
Republic has 121 stores across the UK and employs around
As many as 150 employees at the company's head office in Leeds
are being made redundant.
The Kent stores are in Canterbury (Whitefriars), Maidstone
(Fremlin Walk), Tunbridge Wells (Royal Victoria Place) and
Republic, based in Leeds, specialises in young designer fashion
at reasonable prices.
But it has been hit by the spending downturn, especially in the
youth fashion market, the rise of Primark and online retailers as
well as high shop rents.
Joint administrator Hunter Kelly said: "Republic suffered poor
trading results in the autumn, and whilst sales picked up in
December there has been a sudden and rapid decline in sales in late
"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.
"We will continue to trade Republic, with a view to selling the
business as a going concern."
Comet disappeared from
the high street last year
The ailing retailer follows Comet, Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster
into the clutches of administrators.
The first two have already disappeared from the high
street. More than 10,000 jobs have already gone - especially
among young people - and Republic's demise would add to that
soaring toll at a time when young people are already finding it
hard to land a job.
Republic's website today urges customers to "Get a £15
dress for Valentines."
But it seems that not enough customers felt the love for
Republic to save the business.
- Click here for more news from across the county...