1,200 jobs at risk following Austin Reed clothing chain collapse

They are the second clothing outlet to go bust in two days

Austin Reed has become the second big high street name to fall into administration in as many days, casting a pall over more than 1,000 further retail jobs.

Professional services firm AlixPartners said it had been appointed as administrator after "cash flow difficulties arising from challenging retail market conditions", as first reported by Sky News.

The chain operates 100 standalone stores and 50 concessions throughout the UK and Ireland. It employs 1,184 staff.

Joint administrator Peter Saville said: "Our priority now is to work with all stakeholders and determine the optimum route forward for the business as we continue to serve customers throughout the UK and Ireland. Austin Reed is a well-regarded and iconic brand and therefore we are confident that it is an attractive proposition for a range of potential buyers, as such we expect, and welcome, contact from interested third parties."

Austin Reed will continue to trade during the period of administration as options including a sale of all or parts of the business are explored.

Sources said that Better Capital, the private equity firm headed by veteran investor Jon Moulton, was among the parties likely to be sounded out about a rescue of Austin Reed in the coming days.

Better already owns Jaeger, another fashion chain, and could be tempted to combine a restructured and slimmed-down Austin Reed with its existing retail interests, although the likelihood of such a move is unclear.

A spokesman for Better Capital declined to comment.

Austin Reed, which has been trading for more than a century and whose famous customers in its heyday included Sir Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor, is controlled by Alteri Investors, which specialises in working with troubled retailers.

Alteri is thought to be a likely candidate to acquire Austin Reed from the administrators, although it is unlikely that the chain will survive in its current form.

Any new owner is expected to want the business without dozens of its shops.

The news about Austin Reed casts a further shadow over Britain's high streets following the collapse of BHS into administration on Monday.

The company was founded in 1900, but has suffered years of falling sales after failing to attract younger shoppers.

Austin Reed has concessions in Arnotts in Dublin and Dundrum Shopping Centre.