Fashion firm Republic appoints administrators

LONDON (Reuters) - Fashion retailer Republic became the latest casualty of the economic downturn on Wednesday, seeking protection from creditors and putting around 2,500 jobs at risk.

The firm, which operates 121 stores across the UK with a stronger presence in the north of the country, has appointed administrators Ernst & Young to sell the business while it continues to trade.

Republic is owned by private equity firm TPG.

Ernst & Young said the retailer had been hit by poor autumn trading and a rapid decline in sales in late January. It has made 150 staff at Republic's head office redundant.

Republic's demise is the latest in a string of British high street casualties this year. Music and entertainment retailer HMV, DVD rental firm Blockbuster and camera specialist Jessops have all gone into administration.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by James Davey)