Fashion retailers have been told they need to "up their game" after a well-known chain went into liquidation with the loss of 150 jobs in Northern Ireland.
All Gino Casuals and NV stores here have closed after the chain was liquidated, it was announced yesterday.
The stores stocked men's and women's wear respectively and sold leading fashion brands including Converse, Crosshatch, Canterbury and Caterpillar.
It is understood that parent company Nath Bros Partnership went into liquidation on January 30 and its outlets, which number around 15, have been shutting all over Northern Ireland in recent weeks, including in Belfast, Portadown, Cookstown and Ballymena, with staff sent home after closing-down sales.
Nath Brothers had been trading from Mahon Industrial Estate in Portadown.
Comparisons are being drawn with Scotland's D2 Jeans, which closed stores in Northern Ireland after the firm collapsed into administration for the second time in December 2011.
University of Ulster retail expert Donald McFetridge said that the writing had been on the wall for quite some time.
"Parallels could be drawn with D2 Jeans in terms of their product offering, with customers at the value end of the market electing to shop with retailers such as Primark or New Look as opposed to this independently-run store group," he said.
"The fashion market is always a difficult nut to crack. Even Marks & Spencer in the middle fashion market have had their problems in delivering fashion which appeals to their customer base, both male and female.
"The principal reason why retailers such as Gino and NV experience difficulties in the fashion sector is largely down to customer perception of value, as opposed to price-only, purchasing decisions. Today's more discerning and discriminating consumers are hard to please in terms of fast fashion.
"Retailers like Primark and New Look have huge purchasing and buying muscle, which a store group the size of this doesn't have, meaning their prices for comparable products are considerably lower and therefore more appealing to cash-strapped consumers."
The retail expert said Gino and NV "unfortunately fell into that 'difficult to categorise' sector".
"They lacked a distinctive edge over their competitors. Some consumers perceived their retail offering dull and unattractive, and these days consumers vote with their feet. If they don't like what they see they often take their business elsewhere," he added.
"In short, they have fallen victim to the changing patterns and trends in consumer behaviour.
"Others in a similar position need to learn lessons from this failure as there are other chains of a similar size and scale who face an uncertain future."
"They lacked a distinctive edge over their competitors. Some consumers perceived their retail offering dull and unattractive and these days consumers vote with their feet if they don't like what they see on the shelves. In short, they have fallen victim to the changing patterns and trends in consumer behaviour in the fashion industry... others in a similar position need to learn lessons from this failure."
Donald McFetridge on the demise of Gino Casuals and NV