Ethel Austins falls into administration again

Discount retailer Ethel Austin fell into administration today for the fourth time in as many years, putting around 500 jobs at risk.

Duff & Phelps, the firm that is handling the administration at Rangers football club, said redundancies and store closures cannot be ruled out, but it is continuing to trade the 48-strong chain while seeking a buyer.

Four of the company’s branches are in Scotland, at Airdrie, Clydebank, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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Joint administrators Philip Duffy and Sarah Bell said they were “urgently” reviewing the company’s financial position.

Ethel Austin, which also trades as Life & Style, has suffered a “marked downturn” amid the recession, according to Duff & Phelps.

Previous rescues of the 78-year-old chain were mounted in 2010 by Scottish retail specialist Elaine McPherson and in 2011 by former Blackwells bookshop chain director Sue Townsend.