Flooring firm Allied Carpets was today placed into administration, putting about 1,100 jobs under threat.
Administrators for the firm said they had immediately sold 51 stores - including those at Cannock, Rugby, Burton and Derby - and Allied Carpets' insurance inspection business, protecting around 400 jobs.
But the remaining stores are in the hands of administrators BDO Stoy Hayward.
Allied Carpets, which had a total of about 1,500 workers and 217 stores across the country, has suffered in recent months as the housing market stagnation stalled spending on its products.
BDO sold the stores and Allied Carpets brand to a new firm set up by Allied chief executive Clive Hutchings. It is hoped that this company - Allied Carpets Retail Limited - will also buy some of the remaining stores over the next two weeks.
But BDO said this was "subject to a satisfactory outcome being reached in ongoing negotiations with the firm's existing landlords".
Mr Hutchings said: "Allied Carpets is a good business and, through this sale and additional funding, both the retail and inspections businesses now have the opportunity to strengthen their respective market positions, build on the Allied brand and ensure an ongoing commitment to unrivalled customer service."
Allied has its headquarters in Kent and a distribution centre in Lancashire.
Customer deposits are protected, the administrators said, and outstanding customer orders will continue to be fulfilled from all stores.
Dermot Power, BDO Stoy Hayward business restructuring partner, said: "Allied Carpets is a well-established brand in the marketplace but, like many companies, has suffered because of the economic climate and difficult trading conditions.
"The stagnation of the housing market has meant that fewer people are buying carpets and flooring. We're pleased to have safeguarded the future of 51 stores and more than 400 jobs."
He said administrators were working to secure the sale of the remaining Allied Carpets stores as a going concern.
All staff wages will be paid on the normal payment dates and customers who have any questions about purchases should contact their local store.