Retailer Hawkin’s Bazaar has collapsed into administration, putting 177 jobs in jeopardy.
The toy and gift chain has suspended its website but said trading will continue from its 20 stores until further notice.
The company has become the latest retailer to enter insolvency under the pressure of falling high street footfall and spiralling rates and rents.
The company, headquartered in Norwich, has called in Moorfields Advisory as administrators to seek a rescue deal after it suffered a “challenging Christmas period”.
It said that much of its stock will be sold with “clearance discounts and other special promotions”.
The retailer also said that gift cards will continue to be accepted for a limited time but will no longer be sold to customers.
The following stores remain open as usual for now:
Basildon, Harlow, Norwich, Stevenage, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Poole, Taunton, Truro, Bluewater shopping centre, Hereford, Solihull, Worcester, Preston, York, Cardiff, Dundee and Belfast.
Tom Straw, joint administrator and partner at Moorfields Advisory, said: “Hawkin’s Bazaar is a retail brand with a strong heritage both on the high street and online.
“Unfortunately, despite making changes to their offering to appeal to the shift in modern buying patterns, the retailer still struggled to compete with online retailers such as Amazon etc.”
It is the second time the retailer has fallen into administration, having closed the majority of its store network after entering financial difficulty in 2011.
In 2016, the company was bought by private equity firm Merino, which put the business up for sale in August after slumping to a £978,344 loss on sales of £15.3 million in 2018.
2019 was a tough year for the toy sector, with UK sales declining by 6% as political uncertainty weighed on consumer confidence.
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