Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group has gone bust, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.
The high street giant, which includes the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands, has hired administrators from Deloitte after the pandemic "severely impacted" sales across its brands.
The group, which runs 444 stores in the UK and 22 overseas, said 9,294 employees are currently on furlough.
No redundancies are being announced yet as a result of the appointment and stores will continue to trade, the administrators said.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II meets entrepreneur Sir Philip Green at St James's Palace in London during reception for business leaders celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Retail Trust.
Anna Wintour, editor of US Vogue Magazine and retailer Philip Green at the Preen show during the 2006 London Fashion Week (autumn/winter season), from Cardinal Place, central London, Wednesday 15 February 2006. Watch for PA story. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Andrew Parsons/PA
Kate Moss and Sir Philip Green arrive at the Holland Park Theatre in west London for the Top Shop Unique Spring/Summer show as part of London Fashion Week.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) comments on the tie worn by Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green during a visit for the official opening of the Fashion Retail Academy in central London.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (right) talks to Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green during a visit for the official opening of the Fashion Retail Academy in central London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 31 2006. Sir Philip Green today offered Tony Blair a job when his premiership ends - in the fashion industry.The Arcadia boss made the proposition as the Prime Minister attended the opening of the Fashion Retail Academy's new buildings in central London. See PA story POLITICS Blair. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/WPA rota/PA.
Sir Philip Green and Kate Moss arrive for Swarovski Fashion Rocks for The Prince's Trust at the Royal Albert Hall in central London.
Sylvester Stallone and Philip Green arrive for the UK Premiere of Rambo at the Vue West End, London
Bernie Ecclestone chats to Sir Philip Green (right) at the Grand Prix and Fashion Unite at The Amber Lounge, Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel, Monaco.
Sir Philip Green and Naomi Campbell attend the launch of Mario Testino's 'Obsessed By You' exhibition at Phillips de Pury & Company, Howick Place, south London.
Sir Philip Green and Elizabeth Hurley at the afterparty for the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2008, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
Simon Cowell and Sir Philip Green are seen leaving Vanilla in London.
Sir Philip Green and Kate Moss in the front row at the Topshop Unique Spring/Summer '10 catwalk show during London Fashion Week at the Topshop Venue, University of Westminster in London
Nicola Roberts and Sir Philip Green at the National Magazine Company 30 Days of Fashion and Beauty 2009 gala party at the Natural History Museum in London.
Arcadia Group owner Sir Philip Green and a group of Mrs Claus stop traffic on Oxford Street, London, to launch London's fifth annual Shop West End VIP Day (Very Important Pedestrian Day) on December 5, 2009, which will see Oxford Street and Regent Street closed to traffic from midday.
Naomi Campbell and Philip Green attend the Christopher Kane fashion show as part of London Fashion Week held at the TopShop venue in central London
Sir Philip Green, Chloe Green (centre) and Tina Green (left) arriving for the 2010 World Music Awards at the Sporting Club, Monte Carlo.
Prime Minister David Cameron talks to Sir Philip Green at Downing Street, central London during a meeting for business leaders.
Kate Moss with Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia Group, and his daughter Chloe, at Topshop's flagship Oxford Street store, London, where the model launched her last signature collection for the high street clothing chain.
Sir Philip Green and Simon Webbe attending the Retail Trust London Ball, at Grosvenor House in London.
Sir Philip Green with his daughter Chloe arrive for the Burberry Fashion Show at Hyde Park as part of the London Fashion Week.
Samantha Cameron reacts to owner of Top Shop Sir Philip Green showing off his Tom Ford designed tie to Tom Ford, (not pictured), during a reception for London Fashion Week at 10 Downing Street in London.
Yasmin Le Bon with Sir Philip Green as they arrive at the Harpers Bazaar Women of the Year Awards at Claridges Hotel in central London.
The Prince of Wales (left) talks with Sir Philip Green during a reception at St James Palace, London, to launch the London Collections: Men.
Sir Philip Green (left) and Ronnie Wood attending the TOPMAN Design autumn/winter London Fashion Week show, at the Royal Opera House in central London.
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Ian Grabiner, chief executive of Arcadia, said: "This is an incredibly sad day for all of our colleagues as well as our suppliers and our many other stakeholders.
"The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the forced closure of our stores for prolonged periods, has severely impacted on trading across all of our brands.
"Throughout this immensely challenging time our priority has been to protect jobs and preserve the financial stability of the group in the hope that we could ride out the pandemic and come out fighting on the other side.
"Ultimately, however, in the face of the most difficult trading conditions we have ever experienced, the obstacles we encountered were far too severe."
Matt Smith, joint administrator at Deloitte, said: "We will now work with the existing management team and broader stakeholders to assess all options available for the future of the group's businesses.
"It is our intention to continue to trade all of the brands, and we look forward to welcoming customers back into stores when many of them are allowed to reopen.
"We will be rapidly seeking expressions of interest and expect to identify one or more buyers to ensure the future success of the businesses.
"As administrators we'd like to thank all of the group's employees, customers and business partners for their support, at what we appreciate is a difficult time."
Earlier on Monday, Mike Ashley's Frasers Group said an offer for a £50 million lifeline for Arcadia was rejected.
It came as MPs called on Sir Philip to cover a shortfall in the pension scheme and urged the pension watchdog to fight on behalf of the group's workers.
Stephen Timms, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, called on the tycoon to stump up funds to fill the pensions black hole, which is estimated to be as large as £350 million.
It is the latest retailer to have been hammered by store closures during the coronavirus pandemic. Rivals including Debenhams, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group and Oasis Warehouse have all slid into insolvency since lockdown measures were first imposed in March.
Earlier this year, the group revealed plans to cut around 500 of its 2,500 head office jobs amid a restructure in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
Frasers Group, which runs Sports Direct, told the London Stock Exchange earlier on Monday that a £50 million loan aimed at keeping Arcadia afloat had been rejected.
The company said: "Frasers Group can confirm that Arcadia Group Limited have declined Frasers Group's offer of a lifeline loan of up to £50 million.
"Frasers Group were not given any reasons for the rejection, nor did Frasers Group have any engagement from Arcadia before the loan was declined."