Around 11,000 jobs will be lost at BHS after the retailer announced it be wound down, following the failure of rescue bids.
Liquidators will close its 163 stores, resulting in the biggest loss to the High Street since Woolworths.
The news is likely to cause increased pressure on former owner Sir Philip Green, who sold the business for just £1, despite receiving around £580 million in dividends and interest payments while the company had a pension deficit of around £571m.
Critics say the billionaire retail tycoon took money out of BHS that wasn't there to be taken. Sir Philip will face MPs next month to answer questions over his part in BHS' demise. Business minister Anna Soubry said the government will take any misconduct "extremely seriously".
Administrators Duff & Phelps said "seismic shifts" in the retail sector sparked the downfall of BHS.
"The British High Street is changing and in these turbulent times for retailers, BHS has fallen as another victim of the seismic shifts we are seeing," said Philip Duffy, managing director of Duff & Phelps.
But that view doesn't hold well with the chair of the committee that will grill Philip Green. Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee said: “There was nothing inevitable about its collapse at all. £1.3bn was taken out of this company.
“This is an unbelievable slap in the face for those on the Tory benches who believe in righteous capitalism. It has proved hollow in this case. We have a system of capitalism in this country where huge sums could be taken out of BHS and there was no moral guidance or compass on the owners. They had all the privileges of ownership without the feeling of responsibility of it.”
Speaking outside the company's head office in north London, one unnamed worker told The Guardian: “It’s our previous owners that anger is directed at. They took money out of the business that wasn’t there to be taken. Whatever Mr Sir says, to walk away from a company with a big pension deficit like that is disgusting. It’s not moral.”