TWO of the UK's largest retailers on the UK high street have collapsed into administration today - putting 5,500 jobs at risk.
Struggling retailers Toys R Us and electrical retailer Maplin were fighting to survive amid tough operating conditions.
Toys R Us, which employed around 3,000 workers, has been in trouble for some time now, fighting to pay off a £15million VAT bill.
Before Christmas it had hoped to have staved-off the threat of administration after reaching a deal with UK's pension lifeboat to plug a £9million blackhole.
But at the beginning of February, it was reported the company's American bosses had begun an "urgent search" for a buyer after weak Christmas trading.
The company has said its large, warehouse style stores, which were opened in the 1980s and 1990s are now too big and expensive to run.
The toy giant announced this morning that it had appointed administrators.
Corporate company Moorfields, who worked on video rental chain Blockbuster five years ago, has been appointed as joint administrators to overlook Toys R Us' insolvency.
It has confirmed that it will be holding closing down sales in stores that they plan to close for good.
Customers can expect huge "clearance discounts and other special promotions" in stores and online as the retailers bids to shift the stock.
The administrators are yet to confirm what will happen to employees.
What are your rights when a company goes bust
Toys R Us and Maplin have both gone into administration: here are your rights
- Toys R Us has stores will remain open until further notice and stock will be subject to a clearance discount or other special promotions
- Use your giftcards and vouchers asap. Toys R Us says they be continued to be accepted but they could withdraw this at any time.
- Toys R Us' Time to Pay scheme . You can continue to pay off items and collect them until March 11. If you decide you no longer want the item then you'll be able to use the money towards the cost of another item in-store until March 11.
- Toys R Us customers will no longer be able to use "click and collect" or order items online. All outstanding orders will be fulfilled as long as there's stock available.
- If you've bought an item and you want to get your money back. While a company is still trading it should continue to honour your return rights.
- Once a company enters administration you may have to claim back money from your credit card or debit card provider.
- If you bought the item using a credit card then you'll be covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act - as long as you spent over £100 and under £30,000.
- If you paid using a debit card then you can claim back the cash from your bank using Chargeback.
- If you've bought presents online and paid by PayPal, you may be able to get money back by its Buyer Protection policy if they don't arrive or it doesn't match the seller's description.
- To do this you must first raise a dispute with the seller - you have 180 days to do this after you've made the payment.
Maplin, has more than 200 stores across the UK and 2,500 staff, has been racing to find a buyer for the business over the last week.
This morning, shortly after the toy store's announcement, the electrical retailer said the capital needed to prop up the business had proved "impossible to raise".
The 40-year-old firm said it had been hit by the impact of the Brexit-hit pound, a "weak consumer environment" and the withdrawal of credit insurance.
Chief executive Graham Harris said: "I can confirm this morning that it has not been possible to secure a solvent sale of the business and as a result we now have no alternative but to enter into an administration process.
"During this process Maplin will continue to trade and remains open for business.
"The business has worked hard over recent months to mitigate a combination of impacts from sterling devaluation post Brexit, a weak consumer environment and the withdrawal of credit insurance.
"This necessitated an intensive search for new capital that in current market conditions has proved impossible to raise.
The news of both firms entering administration is the latest blow to familiar high street names.
Pizza chain Prezzo also announced plans to close 100 restaurants putting hundreds of jobs at risk, this morning.
Fashion retailer New Look is looking at plans to close 60 stores in the UK, with its owners considering a possible Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) which will allow it to restructure its business and pay-off its debts.
House of Fraser is also reported to be considering axing a number of its stores after a tough Christmas trading period.