D2 Jeans collapse fuels job loss fears in Northern Ireland
Store chain D2 Jeans has collapsed into administration, making 200 staff redundant and jeopardising dozens of jobs in its stores throughout Northern Ireland
Administrators closed 19 outlets and laid off the shop workers as the Dundonald, Ayrshire-based firm became the first notable post-Christmas retail casualty.
The remaining 28 stores are being run as a going concern while administrators seek a buyer for parts or all of the business in the hope of saving the jobs of hundreds more employees.
BDO LLP administrator James Stephen said: "It is unfortunate that the economic climate and extremely difficult trading conditions have significantly affected the retail sector.
"However, we are hopeful of securing a sale of all or part of the business and will continue to trade the business while this is explored."
It is the second time in two years that the chain, originally set up by Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, has gone into administration.
Last time, it was understood that around 500 jobs were saved as its management struck a deal to buy more than 40 of its stores out of administration. But around 32 stores - employing more than 300 staff - were not included in the rescue deal.
A spokeswoman for BDO said she was unable to say which of the firm's stores had been closed.
According to the company's website, which is no longer fully functioning, D2 operates stores across the UK. These include Sheffield, Redditch, Taunton, South Wirral, Bicester, Banbury, Rochdale, King's Lynn, Gloucester, Barnstaple, Penzance, Truro, Newquay and Cambridge in England.
In Northern Ireland its outlets can be found in Enniskillen, Londonderry, Omagh, Newry, Lisburn, Portadown, Ballymena, Coleraine and Newtownabbey. There are two in Bangor and five in Belfast.
In Scotland it has stores in Paisley, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Livingston, Coatbridge, Hamilton, Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Irvine, Ayr and four in Glasgow.
And in Wales, it has sites in Haverfordwest, Llanelli and Merthyr Tydfil.
There are fears that some big name retailers will collapse after Christmas when most will be hit with their quarterly rent bills.
High street lingerie chain La Senza, which has 146 stores and 18 concessions in the UK, announced last week that it plans to enter administration in coming days.
And Blacks Leisure, which owns 98 Blacks outlets and 208 Millets stores and employs 3,600 staff, faces speculation that it will go into administration in a move that would allow rivals to cherry-pick its best assets.