Another Sunderland store falls victim to ‘high street curse’

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ANOTHER Sunderland city centre store is under threat after clothing chain Republic went into administration, putting 2,500 jobs at risk nationally.

Administrator Ernst & Young said the 121 shops, including one in The Bridges, would continue to trade while it looks for a buyer for the business.

The move comes on the heels of the failure of such household names as Comet, Blockbuster and Jessops in recent weeks.

Republic, which started as a men’s denim retailer in 1986 under the Best Jeans brand in Leeds, was hit by a “sudden and rapid decline” in sales last month after poor trading results over the autumn.

Ernst said it had made 150 staff redundant at Republic’s headquarters in Yorkshire.

Spokesman Hunter Kelly said: “Republic suffered poor trading results in the autumn, and while sales picked up in December, there has been a sudden and rapid decline in sales in late January.”

He added: “We will continue to trade Republic, with a view to selling the business as a going concern.

“Republic is well recognised, particularly in the North.

“It has a powerful website offering well-known brand names and has some very attractive and profitable stores.

“We are grateful for the continued support of all employees and customers during this time, and would like to thank everyone at Republic for their commitment and hard work, as the business continues to trade.”

Republic, which targets the competitive youth market, sells brands including Jack Jones, SoulCal, Diesel and Firetrap.

It was bought by private equity firm TPG in June 2010, in a deal worth about £300million, with the founders understood to have retained a significant stake.

Ernst & Young has set up a helpline for customers on 0113 298 2450 and the e-mail address

Twitter: @sunechobiz