Electrical retailer Powerhouse has gone into administration, with the firm's 650 workers today being sent home from work and informed of their impending redundancies.
New Zealand-based parent company PRG has made the decision to sell the company back to administrators it bought only in 2003 after struggling to achieve a sizeable market share despite having the UK's third largest retail presence with 53 stores.
John Hannett, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers' (Usdaw) general secretary, said that today's news was a "devastating blow" for the company employees, who had shown "incredible loyalty to Powerhouse in often difficult times".
"Our members in Powerhouse have worked miracles in keeping Powerhouse afloat in the intensely competitive electrical goods sector," he said.
Mr Hannett added that the union would "work closely with the administrators to makes sure our members get the payouts they are entitled to at what is a very worrying time for them".