Thousands of jobs are at risk after the heads of clothing chains Jaeger and Peacocks fail to find buyers for the troubled companies.
The two companies have now been put into administration after a two-week period to find a buyer.
Earlier this month, a spokesman for the owner EWM Group said he had discussions with a number of potential buyers he said were interested in parts of the deal.
It’s a heavy blow for the employees of both companies – and comes just a few weeks before a theoretically busy shopping period over Christmas.
Jaeger operates a total of 76 shops and concessions and employs 347 people.
Cardiff-based Peacocks employs 4,369 people in 423 stores.
An EWM Group spokesperson said: “Over the past few weeks we have had constructive discussions with a number of potential buyers for Peacocks and Jaeger Ltd, but the continued deterioration in the retail sector due to the impact of the pandemic and the second lockdown has made this process longer and more complex than we would have hoped.
“During these discussions, we will no longer have the option of extending the standstill agreement originally imposed by the High Court six weeks ago.
“As a result, we as Directors made the extremely difficult decision to add Peacocks and Jaeger to the administration while these talks continue.
“We will continue to do everything we can to support FRP Advisory in trying to achieve the best possible outcome for these companies.”
Tony Wright, joint administrator of FRP Advisory’s business, said, “Jaeger and Peacocks are attractive brands that are suffering from the well-known challenges many retailers are currently facing.
“We are in advanced talks with a number of parties and are working hard to secure a future for both companies.”
No layoffs have been announced and no stores closed.
It comes as the second lockdown has put businesses across the UK under severe financial pressure.
The UK is believed to be on the verge of a second recession as a result.
A number of other high profile companies were hit when coronavirus plunged the economy into crisis, including Victoria’s Secret, Debenhams, Oasis, Cath Kidston and Monsoon.