Barratts Shoes has gone into administration for the third time in four years, putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk.
Directors at the Bradford-based chain were left with no choice after an investor pulled out of a plan to inject £5 million at the end of last week as the company sought to shore up its finances, according to a statement.
Philip Duffy and David Whitehouse of financial advisory and investment banking firm Duff & Phelps were appointed administrators on Friday afternoon.
The administrators said they were reviewing the company's financial position and seeking a sale of the business as a going concern but said: "At this stage redundancies and/or store closures cannot be ruled out."
Barratts Shoes operates from 75 stores and 23 concessions across the UK and Ireland, employing 1,035 people, of whom 521 are part time, the statement said.
Staff have been informed and stores are trading as usual but further announcements on the future of the chain's outlets are expected in the next few days.
Recent reports suggested that Barratts owner and boss Michael Ziff was seeking cash to pay for stock without which it would be running perilously low during the crucial run-up to Christmas.
"The company had recently received an offer from an investor to inject £5 million into the company but that offer was withdrawn on the evening of November 7.
"In view of the financial position of the company and withdrawal of that equity offer, the directors were left with no choice but to appoint administrators."
It comes nearly two years after the footwear chain last went into administration, in December 2011, with unseasonably mild weather blamed for exacerbating already difficult trading conditions.
Attempts to find a buyer for its concessions business failed, costing 1,600 jobs, but in January last year a deal was agreed to save most of the stand-alone store chain - though with the loss of 680 jobs.
Mr Ziff had previously been involved in a deal to keep the brand going after it went into administration in 2009.