Ethel Austin has appointed Menzies Corporate Restructuring as administrators to the 300-store chain.
Last week, Elaine Gray, Sir Philip Green's former right-hand woman at MK One, was understood to be finalising a rescue deal for Ethel Austin. Sources said the retailer had approached landlords asking to pay monthly rather than quarterly rents, and predicted that Ethel Austin would go into administration and sign a pre-pack deal to rescue better-located stores.
MRC partner Philip Duffy said: "At this stage, it’s too early to be certain about the exact reasons for the financial difficulties. Our primary concern is to ensure that the business continues to trade in the coming weeks and that a suitable buyer is found. Despite the current challenges faced by the retail sector we remain confident that a buyer can be found. Ethel Austin has a good brand and good customer base and this, together with its national coverage, should make it an attractive opportunity for a retailer. We appreciate that this is a worrying time for staff and are therefore keen to keep them informed of progress."