MORE retail workers in Bolton face uncertainty after fashion chain Republic went into administration yesterday.

The Leeds-based company has a store in the Market Place shopping centre, which is one of 120 under threat along with 2,500 staff, mainly in the north of England. It is understood the Bolton shop employs eight staff who declined to comment on the situation.

Workers were informed yesterday and accountancy firm Ernst & Young is handling the administration.

Young people’s lack of spare cash and unemployment are being blamed for the chain’s problems, along with fierce competition.

Republic is the latest high street retailer to face administration, following HMV, Jessops, Comet and Blockbuster this year.

However HMV has survived as a smaller network and Ernst & Young hopes to keep Republic as a going concern.

Shops will continue to trade, although 150 head office staff in Leeds have already been redundant.

Hunter Kelly, one of the newly-appointed administrators at Ernst & Young, said: “Republic has a powerful website, owns wellknown brand names and has some very attractive, profitable stores.”

He said Republic had poor autumn business although it picked up in December.

However there had been a sudden, rapid decline in sales in late January.

He added: “The impact on cashflows has resulted in the business being unable to continue to operate outside of an insolvency process.

Unfortunately, it has been necessary to make 150 employees at the head off-ice in Leeds redundant.

We will continue to trade Rep-ublic, with a view to selling the business as a going concern. The Republic brand is well recognised, particularly in the north.

“We are grateful for the continued support of all employees and customers during this time, and would like to thank everyone at Republic for their commitment and hard work as the business continues to trade.”

Republic began selling denim clothing in Leeds in 1986 and has grown to supply both men and women.