barratts-in-administration.jpgThere was bad news this week for employees of Barratts; the latest high street store to be hit by fierce competition and stalling sales. Shoppers, meanwhile, can treat themselves to a frugal pre-Christmas bargain, as many of its lines are now on sale by up to half price. Barratts has also issued a statement to customers who have placed recent orders that their purchases are safe, gift vouchers will still be accepted and the site and many branches remain open for business as usual - for now.

Barratts is one of those chains that has been around as long as I've been aware of shoes, representing the mid range of the market now perhaps better served and under-cut by general fashion competitors like New Look, Next and Primark, while competitor brands like Clarks have occupied the territory with far more success. It currently has 191 shops in the UK, one of which opened in a prime Oxford Street spot only a year ago. It's not the first time that the chain has gone into administration, but conditions look tougher for any possible comeback this time.

Administrators appointed to handle the struggling business have cited 'a downturn in trading as a result of the difficult economic conditions' as a reason for the company's troubles, and have also blamed the abnormally mild weather experienced in recent months for lower-than expected sales of winter stock. They have not commented on any impending closures, but 3,800 jobs are believed to be at risk.