Around 6,500 retail jobs were under threat on Thursday as electricals chain Comet became the latest casualty on the high street.
The 240-strong chain confirmed plans for it to be placed into administration next week, marking one of the UK's biggest retail failures in recent years.
Staff were informed of plans on Thursday morning and restructuring specialist Deloitte has been lined up to handle the administration.
Comet said it was "urgently working" on plans to secure the company's future and it is expected that administrators will seek a buyer for the business.
Customers with outstanding orders and those with gift cards and vouchers are being told it is "business as usual until further notice" and that the group intends to fulfil deliveries of products that have been paid for.
The administration raises the prospect of a pre-Christmas rush for discounted stock, with the administrator expected to wind down supplies and raise cash for creditors.
Comet's collapse is one of the biggest since the demise of Woolworths in 2008 and comes a month after the failure of JJB Sports. Other recent casualties have included Clinton Cards, Blacks Leisure, Game and Peacocks.
Jon Copestake, retail analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said Comet's woes "come as little surprise".
He added: "Not only has Comet faced deflationary pressures thanks to stiff competition and cheaper production costs, but core audio visual products are being undermined by combined platforms on smartphones and tablet computers."