Fashion chain Republic expected to enter administration putting future of Plymouth branch in doubt
CONCERNS have been raised about the future of youth fashion chain Republic which has a shop in Plymouth city centre.
The Leeds-based firm, which sells men's and women's clobber, has more than 100 stores nationally including one in Drake Circus Shopping Centre.
Sources have been predicting the chain, owned by private equity firm TPG, has been heading for administration for the past few days after it called in accountants KPMG to restructure its business and chairman Andy Bond left the firm.
It is understood about 1,000 jobs could be affected by such a move.
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It has sparked fears of another potential loss to Plymouth's retail landscape following the closure of Jessops and Comet just prior to Christmas.
Blockbuster, with two city stores, and HMV, which has a huge shop in the Drake Circus mall, are also both in administration.
It was reported yesterday that professional services giant Ernst and Young was preparing to be called in as administrators. However, when The Herald contacted the firm's London office it declined to be drawn on the issue.
Likewise, staff at Republic's Plymouth store declined to comment and referred The Herald to head office where a spokeswoman said chief executive Paul Sweetenham was in meetings but that she knew "nothing, unfortunately".
Last month Republic tried to switch to monthly rental payments in an attempt to prevent a cash flow glitch.
Its US-based owner had injected new capital into the firm on at least two occasions since buying it in 2010, with a reported £20million pumped in last year alone.
But, tough trading conditions are believed to have hit the company, which sells brands including Diesel, Firetrap and G-Star.
The chain made A £3million profit in 2012, but that figure represented a fall of 86 per cent.