Up to 50 North East jobs have been put at risk after retailer Barratts Shoes went into administration for the third time in four years.
Directors for the firm – which has 75 stores including three in the region – said they were left with no choice but to call in administrators after an investor last week pulled out of plans to inject £5m into the business.
The business had been attempting to shore up its finances to see it through a tough trading period.
The 1,035 staff, including 521 part-time workers, have been informed at the stores, which include shops in Middlesbrough, Redcar, York, Newcastle and Sunderland.
Administrators said each store employs between five and 10 employees, meaning as many as 50 regional jobs are at risk.
Philip Duffy and David Whitehouse of financial advisory and investment banking firm Duff & Phelps were appointed administrators.
The administrators said they were reviewing the company’s financial position and seeking a sale of the business as a going concern.
However, they warned: “At this stage redundancies and/or store closures cannot be ruled out.”
Stores are trading as usual but further announcements on the future of the chain’s outlets are expected in the next few days.
Duffy said: “Difficult trading conditions in the sector led the directors to explore potential refinancing options and additional equity for the business.
“The company had recently received an offer from an investor to inject £5m into the company but that offer was withdrawn on the evening of November 7.
“In view of the financial position of the company and withdrawal of that equity offer, the directors were left with no choice but to appoint administrators.”
The company collapse comes almost two years after the footwear chain last went into administration, in December 2011, when unseasonably mild weather was blamed for worsening already difficult trading conditions.
Attempts to find a buyer for its concessions business failed, costing 1,600 jobs.
In January last year a deal was agreed to save most of the stand-alone store chain – though with the loss of 680 jobs.
Recent reports suggested that Barratts owner and boss Michael Ziff was seeking cash to pay for stock without which it would be running perilously low during the crucial run-up to Christmas.
Ziff had previously been involved in a deal to keep the brand going after it went into administration in 2009.