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UK retailers Barratts, Blockbuster go into administration

Passers-by are reflected in the display window of Barratts shoe shop on Oxford Street in central London, December 8, 2011. REUTERS/Finbarr O
Passers-by are reflected in the display window of Barratts shoe shop on Oxford Street in central London, December 8, 2011. REUTERS/Finbarr O

LONDON (Reuters) - British footwear retailer Barratts Shoes and film and computer game rental chain Blockbuster both went into administration on Monday, a form of bankruptcy protection, blaming tough trading conditions and threatening over 3,000 jobs.

Many British retailers are still finding the going tough despite signs of economic recovery as inflation continues to outpace wage rises and competition from the Internet intensifies.

Duff & Phelps, the financial advisory and investment banking firm, said it had been appointed as administrator to Barratts, which operates from 75 stores and 23 concessions across the UK, employing 1,035 people.

It is the third time Barratts has gone into administration in four years.

"The company had recently received an offer from an investor to inject 5 million pounds ($8.0 million)... but that offer was withdrawn on the evening of November 8," Duff & Phelps said, adding it was reviewing Barratts' financial position whilst seeking a going concern sale of the business.

"At this stage redundancies and/or store closures cannot be ruled out," it said.

Barratts last went into administration in December 2011, when it traded from 191 stores and 371 concessions. A slimmed-down firm was acquired by its management in the following month.

Last month private equity firm Gordon Brothers Europe, which purchased Blockbuster for an undisclosed sum in March, said it was filing a notice of intention to appoint an administrator to the retailer, which trades from 264 stores and employs 2,000.

On Monday Moorfields Corporate Recovery, the restructuring and insolvency firm, was appointed administrator of TS Operations Limited, which trades as Blockbuster.

"We are pleased to say that there are parties who are interested in parts of the business. Our focus will be to secure a future for as much of the business as possible as well as trying to save jobs before Christmas," it said, adding the firm will continue to trade.

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Neil Maidment and David Evans)

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