A receiver has been appointed to the Hughes & Hughes chain of bookstores, leading to the loss of 225 jobs at the company, which has been in business for 26 years.

A statement said the company's directors had asked Ulster Bank Ireland Limited to appoint David Carson of Deloitte as receiver. Hughes & Hughes said a collapse in consumer demand and competition from internet booksellers were the main factors in its decision.

It added that, as most of its business was coming through its airport stores, the business had been particularly badly hit by the collapse in passenger numbers passing through Dublin and Cork airports.

The company also said that, like other retailers, it had had difficulty renegotiating rents. 'Indeed the unwillingness to reduce rents has been in stark contrast to the approach of our employees who were willing to make the adjustments necessary to support the business', it said.

A spokesman for Hughes & Hughes said that all staff had been laid off and the shops closed.

But a spokesperson for the Dublin Airport Authority has said that the five Hughes & Hughes outlets operating in the airport remain open tonight. The DAA is due to meet the receiver shortly. A spokesman said the airport branches of Hughes & Hughes were profitable and always had been.