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Republic In Administration As Website Shuts

(c) Sky News 2013

Fashion retailer Republic has gone into administration and closed its website, putting 2,500 jobs at risk.

The normal website was replaced with a headline saying "Site Unavailable", along with a message from the joint administrators. 

Customers vented their frustration on social media outlets.

The firm, which operates 121 stores across the UK with a stronger presence in the north of the country, has appointed administrators Ernst & Young to sell the business while it attempts to trade.

It has already made 150 employees redundant at the head office in Leeds.

Speaking to Sky News about the Republic redundancies, Chancellor George Osborne said: "It is always very, very sad news when a retailer goes bust and people lose jobs.

"We are going to work hard to make sure they have jobs to go to."

Republic is owned by private equity firm TPG.

The investment firm's website still promotes Republic as "one of the United Kingdom's top young adult fashion retailers".

Staff tweeted a message after the move to administration.

It said: "Sadly #Republic is now in the hands of Administrators. We did all we could but it's simply too tough out there. Thanks for your support."

On Tuesday, Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman revealed the retailer was poised to enter administration.

But hours later it still promoted itself as a viable concern with a tweet about its all-in-one outfits.

The tweet said: "We are indeed your one stop Onesie shop. And if you play our #RepublicRomance game you can get 10% off."

Hunter Kelly, head of corporate restructuring team at Ernst & Young, 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 January.

"The impact on cash flows has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of an insolvency process."

Republic began as a men's denim retailer in 1986 under the Best Jeans brand, and sells brands including Diesel, Firetrap and G-Star Raw.

Republic's demise is the latest in a string of British high street casualties in the last six months.

Music and entertainment retailer HMV, DVD rental firm Blockbuster and camera specialist Jessops have all gone into administration this year.

In October, electricals chain Comet also called in administrators.

Mr Osborne is aware of the trend in retail of increasing web-based purchases and its affect on the retail sector.

He told Sky: "I think you are seeing changes on our high street, a lot of clothing is sold online now so we are seeing changes in the way people shop in this country."

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