By Daniel Hunter

Leeds-based clothing retailer Republic has become the latest high street casualty, having announced that they have entered administration.

Republic, which has 121 stores and about 2,500 staff, said it had appointed accountants from Ernst & Young to take over running of the firm.

The administrators said they had already made 150 staff at the firm's head office in Leeds redundant.

Republic will continue to be open for business, with administrators hoping to sell it as a going concern.

"The brand Republic is well recognised, particularly in the North," said Hunter Kelly, one of the newly-appointed administrators.

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

Founded in 1986, as men's denim retailer in Leeds under the name Best Jeans, Republic underwent a rapid expansion 10 years ago, but has since seen sales slacken off.

"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 Mr Kelly.

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