High Street store in administration

TEA and coffee merchant Whittard of Chelsea was placed into administration today.

TEA and coffee merchant Whittard of Chelsea was placed into administration today.

The 122-year-old company, which has branches in Ipswich, Colchester and Chelmsford, is the latest to be hit by the downturn in consumer spending following the recent collapse of retail icons Woolworths and MFI.

But the Whittard name will remain on the high street after administrator Ernst & Young sold the firm to private equity company EPIC in a rescue deal.

Whittard has around 130 stores in the UK, employing around 950 staff. It has a head office in London and a warehouse facility in Northampton.