Maplin has collapsed this morning, with PwC set to handle the administration, after sale talks broke down with a potential buyer.
The retailer's private equity owner Rutland Fund Management was in talks with Edinburgh Woollen Mill about a sale, but talks have collapsed, putting thousands of jobs at risk.
Graham Harris, Maplin's chief executive, said:
I can confirm this morning that it has not been possible to secure a solvent sale of the business and as a result we now have no alternative but to enter into an administration process.
We believe passionately that Maplin has a place on the high street, and that our trust, credibility and expertise meets a customer need that is not supported elsewhere.
Maplin's administrators will keep the retailer's stores open, and will continue to operate the electronics retailer's website while searching for firms interested in buying parts of the business.
The brand may well be sold separately from the business, a common feature of retail administrations.
Maplin has 200 stores and 2,500 staff in the UK, and although sale talks have broken down, staff will still be paid.
The news of Maplin's collapse comes as Toys R Us fell into administration, putting 3,000 jobs at risk. Moorfields has been appointed to handle the administration.
The toy shop, which has a large property portfolio, failed to find a buyer and was forced into administration when it was due to pay a £15m VAT bill.