Jobs in Norwich and King’s Lynn under threat as Barratts Priceless goes into administration

Nearly 4,000 jobs were under threat today after the owner of shoe shops Barratts and Priceless Shoes collapsed into administration.

The failure of the chain Barratts Priceless, which has 191 stores in the UK, including in Norwich, King's Lynn and Bury St Edmunds, followed unseasonably mild weather in recent weeks, which exacerbated already difficult trading conditions.

Administrator Deloitte said it will continue to trade the stores while it seeks a buyer for all or parts of the business.

There are approximately 3,840 staff working in 191 stores and 371 concessions across the UK.

Deloitte restructuring partner Daniel Butters said: 'Barratts and Priceless Shoes have faced a downturn in trading as a result of the difficult economic conditions.

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'This has been exacerbated by the unseasonably mild weather in recent weeks which resulted in fewer sales across new winter lines.'

It is the second time the business has been put into administration as Michael Ziff, chairman of Barratts Priceless parent company Stylo, bought 160 shops from Deloitte after the chains were put into administration in 2009.

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At the time, Deloitte closed 220 stores but Mr Ziff was able to safeguard around 3,000 jobs.

Barratts joins a list of retail failures this year that includes TJ Hughes, Jane Norman, Alexon, Habitat UK and Focus DIY. And Blacks Leisure, which owns the Millets chain, put itself up for sale yesterday in a last-ditch effort to save the loss-making business from collapse.

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