Empire Direct has gone into administration, with the loss of 158 jobs.
The 25 year old chain – which was the UK's largest independent electrical retailer and had 14 outlets across the north of the country, but was best known for its online operation – filed for bankruptcy at the request of its directors.
Administrators KPMG has warned that the remaining 192 jobs will be lost if a buyer is not found soon, adding that EmpireDirect will not be able to trade as a going concern for long due to low stock levels and operating losses.
The retailer suffered heavily due to the credit crunch, with demand dropping from the middle of last summer. It was further hit when its suppliers' credit insurance was decreased in October.
"The administrators are working hard to assess the position for customers who have made payments and not received goods," commented joint administrator and restructuring partner Mark Firmin.
"We will endeavour to contact these customers over the next few weeks," he added.
The administrator has set up a dedicated phone number for customers wishing to enquire about pending orders. Customers can ring 0871 472 9000 or click here to email the order enquiries department.