Fashion retailer expected to appoint administrators

FASHION retailer Republic is expected to call in administrators tomorrow as it becomes the latest in a string of high street casualties.

The chain, which is headquartered in Leeds and has a store in York, employs 1,000 people.

The group is believed to have lined up Ernst & Young to handle the administration.

Republic, which was bought by private equity firm TPG for £300 million in 2010, started in Leeds as a men's denim retailer in 1986 and now has around 120 stores selling mens and womenswear brands including G-Star, Diesel and Firetrap.

It is understood that Republic has suffered amid poor trading in recent months, given the recent consumer spending pressures and its focus on the north of England, which has been hit particularly badly by the recession.

Chairman Andy Bond, a former Asda boss, is said to have stepped down last week after less than two years and the chain recently hired ex-TK Maxx boss Paul Sweetenham as chief executive.

Republic's woes follow a bleak start to the year for the retail sector, after thousands of jobs have been axed after music retailer HMV, camera group Jessops and DVD and games rental group Blockbuster called in administrators last month.

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