The administrators of women's wear chain Principles are to close 66 of its high street stores - putting thousands of retail jobs under threat - and have sold the brand's assets to Debenhams.

In addition, 110 head office jobs have been lost.

The wind-down process for some stores started this weekend and the rest will follow immediately, just-style was told.

The exact number of job losses is currently unknown, but in total Principles has over 2,300 staff at 94 stores and 306 concession outlets.

Administrator Deloitte announcedon Saturday (7 March) that it has sold the majority of Principles' stock to department store chain Debenhams.

However, it was unable to find a suitable buyer to take the business on as a going concern.

Debenhams will be acquiring most of the Principles shop stock, including that in the 121 concessions within its stores, Deloitte said. It also has a temporary non-exclusive licence to continue operating the Principles brand.

Lee Manning of Deloitte and Joint Administrator said: "Regrettably, we will be closing 66 high street Principles stores, but will be continuing to trade the remaining 19. 

"For the time being the remaining 172 non-Debenhams concessions will also remain trading.

"Unfortunately there will be significant redundancies over the coming weeks, and we can confirm that yesterday 110 head office staff were made redundant."

Principles was put up for sale following last week's pre-pack administration by Mosaic Fashions.

Mosaic went into administration on Monday last week, with most of its brands immediately bought by a new company called Aurora Fashions. Its Shoe Studio brand was sold to footwear firm Dune last Thursday.

Aurora, which is jointly owned by Kaupthing bank and former management of Mosaic, bought the Warehouse, Oasis, Coast, Karen Millen and Anoushka G high street brands.