Administrators of Birmingham-based flooring chain Floors-2-Go are looking for a buyer for the firm after it became a victim of the struggling housing market.
The group, which is the UK's biggest wood and laminate flooring retailer, was forced to call in Kroll on Monday evening. The administrators immediately closed 41 of the group's 132 stores, cutting 97 of the chain's 450 staff. Sales have been hit by the depressed housing market and a resulting fall in home improvement spending.
Kroll partner Fraser Gray said: "Retailers are battling a particularly hostile trading environment at present, and it is clear that the pain is being felt acutely in the home improvements sector."
But Mr Gray added that the business would continue to trade while administrators weighed up the options for the retailer.
"Floors-2-Go has a strong brand, a well-dispersed nationwide network of stores, an established online presence and a contracts division, so despite the harsh trading conditions, we remain hopeful of selling the business as a going concern," he said.
Floors-2-Go began as a family business in Birmingham in 1999. It floated on the London stock market in 2004, evolving from cash and carry-type warehouses to retail superstores in prime high street and retail park locations.
It was bought for £52.4 million in December 2006 by directors and private equity firm Alchemy Partners.
The problems faced by Floors-2-Go come against a background of difficult conditions as consumers cut back on home improvements and "big-ticket" items.
According to the British Retail Consortium's latest retail sales figures, sales of both large and small furniture and homewares weakened further in June despite continued discounts and promotions.
B&Q owner Kingfisher said last month that like-for-like sales in the UK slumped by nearly 8% after a "very tough" first quarter. Home Retail Group, which owns Homebase, also saw a 12% fall in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to May 31 at the chain after March and April's poor weather.