Independent store JR Taylor, founded in 1901, has just weeks to find a buyer or be forced to close, with 60 staff facing redundancy.
Workers at the store, based in Garden Street, St Annes, were told of the news at a meeting on Monday after what was described as a “sustained period of difficult trading conditions”.
Matthew Bye, of JR Taylor, said: “The changing nature of shopping and retail habits, and the economic climate, has placed huge pressures on JR Taylor.
“It has been losing money for a number of years, despite the best efforts of the management and staff to achieve a turnaround in financial performance.
“JR Taylor is a good brand and we remain hopeful of finding a buyer.”
Mr Bye said the situation would be reviewed on a daily basis and staff would receive full redundancy packages if the business ceased trading.
The decision to enter administration was made by owners Howjow Investments Limited.
St Annes mayor Coun Ed Nash (pictured) said: “JR Taylor is an institution.
“It has always been there as a beacon on the corner of Garden Street.
“I hope they manage to overcome the problems.
“We do need a good store in the town centre.
“I would not want to see it go.
“I would like to see it rescued.”
The Manchester office of Duff and Phelps has been appointed as administrator.
A store worker, who asked not to be named, said staff were left “completely shocked” by the announcement. They added: “We have got to find a buyer very quickly. It is going to be a terrible blow for St Annes. We’ve been told the administrators will run the store for up to three weeks. We have done good business and met targets. It all felt fairly positive. It is just so disappointing. I am just so upset because I love my job but for some people it is seriously worrying, especially being so close to Christmas.”