Fears are growing for the fate of 2,500 Maplin workers as hopes of finding a buyer for the stricken electronics chain fade and stores set to begin closing over the coming weeks.
The retailer, owned by private equity firm Rutland Partners, appointed PwC to oversee an administration at the end of February after rescue attempts failed.
Maplin has 217 stores in the UK and, while PwC is attempting to find a buyer for the group, it is understood that no credible offer has materialised.
It is thought that, if a white knight fails to emerge in the coming days, store closures could be announced as soon as next week.
The axe has already been swung on 129 jobs at the firm’s head offices in London and Rotherham, and thousands more are now expected to be made redundant.
When Maplin went bust last month, it became the second retailer to collapse into administration in one day following the failure of Toys R Us, which is shutting all 100 of its UK stores.
Maplin chief executive Graham Harris said at the time that the retailer had been struggling to mitigate the impact of the pound’s devaluation since the Brexit vote, along with a weak consumer environment and the withdrawal of credit insurance.
It comes in a dismal first quarter for the UK high street, with Carpetright also announcing on Wednesday the prospect of store closures, and Moss Bros and Mothercare also in the doldrums.
Earlier this week New Look agreed a restructuring plan with creditors which will see it shut 60 stores, resulting in the loss of up to 980 jobs.
A host of restaurant chains – including outlets run by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, Prezzo and burger chain Byron – are also planning to shut hundreds of branches.