British fashion retailer Republic in administration

British clothing retailer Republic has collapsed into administration, putting places about 2,500 jobs at risk, administrators Ernst & Young announced on Wednesday.

Ernst & Young said in a statement that it will manage the business, which is based in Leeds in northern England, while it seeks to attract a possible buyer.

The chain's 121 stores will meanwhile continue to trade.

"Republic suffered poor trading results in the autumn, and whilst sales picked up in December there has been a sudden and rapid decline in sales in late January," said administrator Hunter Kelly.

"We will continue to trade Republic, with a view to selling the business as a going concern."

Administration is the process whereby a troubled company calls upon independent expert financial help in an attempt to remain operational.

Republic becomes the latest British high street retailers to enter administration in recent months, with camera specialist Jessops, DVD rental firm Blockbuster and music chain HMV also falling victim to tough economic conditions and competition from online.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, administrators Deloitte announced that Blockbuster would close 164 of its stores in the coming weeks, with the loss of another 800 jobs.