Republic likely to be latest high street victim

YORKSHIRE retail fashion chain Republic, is reported to be close to entering administration.

The group, which has 121 stores and employs about 1,000 people with a head office at Thorpe Park, Leeds would add to the thousands of job losses from retail casualties so far this year.

 It could enter administration tomorrow with Ernst & Young likely to be appointed.

The retailer, which is owned by private equity group TPG, has been hit by poor trading over recent months.

It was co-founded by Tim Whitworth and 12 months ago hired former TK Maxx boss Paul Sweetenham as its new chief executive.

Mr Whitworth, who had been chief executive for 10 years, stepped back from the day-to-day running of the business.

It emerged last week that KPMG had been brought in to advise the company on shedding some of its stores, and that Andy Bond, the former chief executive of Asda, was stepping down as chairman.

Republic would be the latest casualty on the British high street. Last month saw the collapse of Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster, with the loss of up to 10,000 jobs.

TPG bought the company in June 2010 in a deal valuing the retailer at about £300m and in which the founders retained a significant stake.

Change Capital Partners, the consumer goods-focused private equity group run by former Marks and Spencer executives Luc Vandevelde and Roger Holmes, sold the business to TPG, which manages a $18bn global fund, contributed about £150m of its own equity to the deal.