Fashion chain Republic has gone into administration, the British equivalent of examinership, putting 2,500 jobs at risk.

The group has two outlets in Dublin’s Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown shopping centres and one outlet in Belfast.

However, staff were unable to clarify what impact the administration proceedings would have on the Irish operations.

Ernst & Young, administrator to the group, said its 121 shops would continue to trade while it looks for a buyer for the business.

Republic, which started as a men's denim retailer in 1986 under the Best Jeans brand in Leeds, was hit by a "sudden and rapid decline" in sales at the end of last month after poor trading results over the autumn.

Ernst & Young said it had made 150 staff redundant at Republic's headquarters in Leeds.

Administrator Hunter Kelly said: "Republic suffered poor trading results in the autumn, and whilst sales picked up in December there has been a sudden and rapid decline in sales in late January.

He added: "We will continue to trade Republic, with a view to selling the business as a going concern. The brand Republic is well recognised, particularly in the North. It has a powerful website offering, owns well-known brand names, and has some very attractive and profitable stores."