Barratts Shoes has gone into administration for the third time in four years, putting more than 1,000 jobs at risk in the UK and Ireland.
Barratts has stores across the North East, in Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Redcar.
The administrators, Duff & Phelps, said: "At this stage redundancies and/or store closures cannot be ruled out."
More top news
More than 70 volunteers from six mountain rescue teams searched in subzero temperatures for 10 hours to find a missing Middlesbrough man.
The Irons have put us closer to the fire but we must re group and fight our way out of the mire. Robert Nichols.
Sunderland cemented their place at the bottom of the table after a 2-0 defeat to West Brom. Can they turn it around?