The Norwich branch of the clothing chain Republic will remain open, despite the company going into administration today.

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The 121 shops across the country will continue to trade, with a view to selling the business as a going concern, though up to 2,500 jobs are at risk nationally after administrators Ernst and Young were appointed.

A “sudden and rapid decline” in sales at the end of last month is behind the collapse, coupled with poor trading results over the autumn.

The Norwich branch, in Chapelfield shopping centre, was open today with staff insisting it was “business as usual”.

Ernst said it had made 150 staff redundant at Republic’s headquarters in Leeds.

Administrator Hunter Kelly said: “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.

He added: “We will continue to trade Republic, with a view to selling the business as a going concern. The brand Republic is well recognised, particularly in the North. It has a powerful website offering, owns well-known brand names, and has some very attractive and profitable stores.”

Republic’s focus in the north of England – an area that has been hit particularly badly by the recession – is thought to have contributed to the poor trading.

Its fall into administration follows a bleak start to the year for the sector, with music retailer HMV, camera group Jessops and DVD rental group Blockbuster calling in administrators since the turn of the year.

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