G Retail, which owns the Gowings men's wear chain, has called the administrators in after a deal to sell out to rival company Lowes collapsed.

Two months of discussions with Lowes ended on Monday after Gowing Bros, major landlord and owner of the Gowings name, refused to back the terms of the proposed sale.

Although the Gowing family is no longer involved in day-to-day running of the company, it owns about 20 per cent of its shares.

G Retail said: "Following a review of the company's financial position and prospects, particularly the forecast post the Christmas trading period, the directors have resolved that the only course of action available to them was to appoint the administrators to assess options for the future of the company".

The group added that its directors as well as the business's adviser, Baron Partners, had seen the proposed sale as the best course of action for all involved in the company.

Gowings, which has a chain of four stores, has suffered losses for the past three years, and predicts a loss for 2005/06 trading.

G Retail is said to owe about $4.5 million to creditors.