Value department store chain TJ Hughes has filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators which would put thousands of jobs in danger, it was announced late last night.
The business, which was subject of a management buyout backed by private equity firm Endless only four months ago, employs around 4,000 people in its 57 stores across the UK.
A statement released by Endless today said: “The business had a very poor 2010 and heavy losses were experienced, which led to a rescue refinancing in March of this year.
“Since this time, the business has experienced further problems with waning customer demand and loss of supplier and credit insurer support.”
TJ Hughes is the latest in an increasingly long line of retailers to experience financial difficulty in recent months after the collapse of Oddbins and Focus DIY during the spring and last week’s news that both Habitat and Kitchens Direct owner Homeform Group were looking to appoint administrators.
Women’s fashion retailer Jane Norman also collapsed yesterday after the company was unable to find a buyer for its 90 stores across the UK.
Retail Gazette understands that Endless is looking to find buyers for TJ Hughes’ outlets and there has been interest from a number of other businesses regarding the acquisition of either all or part of the store portfolio.
“The options for the business are currently being explored, which include selling some or all of the stores, which would see most of the 2,000 (full time equivalent) jobs being secured,” the Endless statement continued.
Staff are still getting paid, stores remain open and for the time being it is business as usual, although customers trying to access the company’s website today are met with the message: “Our website is currently undergoing essential maintenance to help bring you an improved shopping experience.”
If Endless cannot find a buyer for TJ Hughes it is expected that an administrator will be appointed in ten days to two weeks’ time.