Base Retail Limited has entered into administration, resulting in four store closures and 68 redundancies.
The company’s difficulties were attributed to “restrained consumer spending, price competition affecting margins and a tendency towards web-based buyers.”
Base Retail stores have been closed at premises in Lakeside, Watford, Bromley and Luton.
Those located in Basildon, Bluewater, Romford, Stratford and White City remain unaffected and continue trading for the time being, though further closures are expected.
Administrators from Portland Business & Financial Solutions appointed to the company are currently assessing its level of debt and calculating possible payments to creditors based on what is available.
Marc Granditer, managing director of Base Retail, said: “Rents are always difficult, but generally landlords are receptive.
“The real problem is the rates – the absurd situation in some of our stores where we were paying twice as much rates as rent.
“Our family had provided significant financial support to keep the business going in the hope of an upturn but, after poor Christmas trading, we simply had no choice but to take this action.”
James Tickell, joint administrator from Portland, said: “Working closely with management, we have been forced to take the difficult decision to make 68 redundancies and close four stores immediately at Lakeside, Watford, Bromley and Luton.
“Trading is continuing at Basildon, Bluewater, Romford, Stratford and White City in the short term whilst we review their prospects and assess stock ownership with an expected significant level of retention of title claims from suppliers.
“Without wishing to prejudge the situation, it is likely we shall have to make further closures shortly.”
Marc Granditer confirmed that the children’s retail business operating through Base Childrenswear Limited continues, unaffected by the administration.