Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Jobs go at electrical goods firm

Electrical goods retailer Empire Direct has gone into administration, with the loss of 158 jobs.

The Leeds-based firm traded mainly online but also had 14 UK stores, which have closed.

Administrator KPMG said Empire Direct had been "severely affected" by the economic downturn and 158 of its 350 employees had been made redundant.

It said customers who had paid for items but not received them would be contacted within the next few weeks.

Empire Direct's stores were in Bolton, Bradford, Chingford, Derby, Doncaster, Dudley, Huddersfield, Leeds, Loughborough, Nuneaton, Romford and Wetherby.

KPMG said it had also been appointed to Empire Direct's subsidiary Empire Property (UK) Ltd.

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Concerns over store closure

Mark Firmin, joint administrator and KPMG restructuring partner, said it was working with the remaining staff to draw up a list of customers with outstanding orders.

He said: "Within the first few weeks of the administration, we are aiming to contact all customers who have paid for goods which they have not received.

"Empire Direct has been severely affected by the economic downturn and experienced a significant reduction in sales from the middle of last year.

"In addition, the business really suffered when credit insurers withdrew cover in October.

"Low stock levels and operating losses mean the business cannot continue to trade in administration."

The company had been established for 25 years and marketed itself as the UK's largest independent retailer of electrical goods with a turnover of 150 million.

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