DOZENS of Cheshire jobs hang in the balance after fashion chain Jane Norman fell into administration last weekend.

The retailer closed its 90 UK outlets, including those on Eastgate Street, Chester, and in Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, Ellesmere Port, after a decline in sales.

Staff arrived for work at the Chester branch as usual on Saturday, but were telephoned and told to close the store.

Thirty-three branches have since been sold to The Edinburgh Woollen Mill. The knitwear firm is in discussions with administrators over the possible purchase of a further 28 stores.

The remaining 33 outlets in the UK and Ireland will be closed, with administrators yet to confirm whether Cheshire’s branches will escape the axe.

Jane Norman concessions in Debenhams department stores, including Browns of Chester, will continue to trade until a sale can be secured.

Alastair Beveridge, a partner in administrators Zolfo Cooper said: “We are pleased to have ensured the survival of such a familiar presence on the High Street, while securing the jobs of at least 396 Jane Norman employees.

“Unfortunately the sale has resulted in job losses, which we appreciate is difficult news for those involved. We would like to thank them for their professionalism and support during what has been an uncertain time.”

No one at Jane Norman was available for comment.