A highstreet pawnbrokers with branches in Brighton and Crawley is in jeopardy after looking to appoint administrators.
Albemarle and Bond announced yesterday it was planning to appoint Price Waterhouse Cooper as administrators.
The group threw in the towel after lenders said they did not consider options to save the business “capable of being completed”.
Plunging gold prices and increased competition left the group struggling with losses and overstretched finances.
Its shares, which were suspended at 6.65p, have lost around 97% of their value in the last year as its woes deepened and investors were warned any remaining options for the group would likely wipe out any remaining value of the stock.
The appointment of PwC as administrators came as the business admitted, with no financial support from lenders and mounting trading losses, it would not be seeking an extension to a March 31 restructuring deadline set by its banks.
It abandoned an attempt to sell itself in January, saying none of the proposals it had received represented a fair value for the business.
Albemarle added: “In the absence of any other available facilities from its lenders or elsewhere, the company will shortly be unable to meet its liabilities as they fall due.
“The board has therefore concluded that, in such circumstances, the appointment of an administrator is the most appropriate course of action.”
Albemarle, which includes Herbert Brown jewellery and pawnbroking stores, had attempted to turn itself around by slashing costs and closing 33 pop-up gold stores last year.
It had been given a reprieve by lenders to patch up its overstretched finances, with a deadline extended further at the beginning of the year, but was unable to come up with a viable rescue solution.
The group has warned that earnings will be significantly below expectations and admitted it had resorted to melting down gold jewellery stocks to raise cash.