A BATH retailer has gone into administration and left seven Essex stores at risk of closure.

Bathstore, who has reportedly informed staff of the development today, has stores in Basildon, Braintree, Chelmsford, Grays, Harlow, Ilford and Southend.

All of these stores could now close, after the chain made the announcement internally today after it revealed it had lost money.

Bathstore has 135 stores across the UK, including 13 in London, nine in Scotland and 44 in the South East of the country.

All of these stores are now at risk, potentially affecting 531 employees.

Ryan Grant, BDO business restructuring partner, said: "Despite significant investment into the business over the past five years, Bathstore has struggled to overcome the well-documented challenges facing the UK retail sector.

"The appointment was made after several months of difficult trading, and the failure of ongoing talks to find a buyer for the business. Bathstore is continuing to trade in administration whilst the administrators seek a buyer."

It was reported last week that in 2016, Bathstore was hit by the devaluation of the pound and a collapse of consumer confidence in 2017.

It was set up in 1990 by Patrick Riley and Nico de Beer.

Its company headquarters are in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, though it has been owned by billionaire Warren Stephens since 2014.