Scottish furniture chain Reid is closing its three remaining stores in Northern Ireland with the estimated loss of at least 30 jobs.
Clearance sales have been announced at the outlets in Bangor, Londonderry and Belfast.
The firm also has a number of branches in Scotland and in the Republic. Seven stores, including six in the Republic, have been closed since June.
Last month Reid pulled down the shutters on two stores in Dublin, plus one in Newry.
The company, which claims to be one of the largest furniture companies in Ireland and Scotland, was founded in 1970.
It is now part of the same group as Harveys furniture, overseen by South African parent company Steinhoff International.
Donald McFetridge, Northern Ireland’s leading retail analyst from the Ulster Business School at the University of Ulster, said that there are hard times ahead for the sector.
“The days and weeks ahead are going to be particularly painful for retailers and especially for those in the furniture and DIY sectors,” he said.
“Already cash-strapped consumers are going to be trying to source cheaper furniture and DIY materials and those retailers are going to be squeezed tighter than ever.
“Well-placed sources in the industry claim that furniture retailers such as Reid are on the brink of closing up shop.
“The advent of IKEA, Dekko and DFS has hardly made their lives any easier as consumers constantly shop around for the best bargains and best credit arrangements.”
The company was unavailable for comment yesterday but sources said that staff had been told that the stores were closing and that they were losing their jobs, just months before Christmas.