Page last updated at 18:13 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 19:13 UK

Robbs of Hexham and Joplings in Sunderland to close

Joplings Sunderland
Joplings in Sunderland was founded in 1804

Two historic North East department stores are to close after their owner went into administration.

Robbs of Hexham and Joplings in Sunderland had been sold to Vergo Retail in 2007.

Administrators MCR said Vergo Retail had gone into administration, meaning nine stores across England would close.

It said the stores would shut in four weeks with a loss of 335 jobs in total, although it could not rule out the possibility that they may be sold.

The other stores are in Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Dovercourt and Witham in Essex, Stowmarket, in Suffolk, Plymouth and Norwich.

Sarah Bell, partner at MCR, said: "Following a financial review of the business it was apparent it could not continue to trade in the short term without implementing immediate cost saving measures."

"There is an opportunity for interested parties to come forward and rescue the remaining business as a going concern."

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