Gym and sports retailer Dave Whelan Sports Limited (DW Sports) has entered into administration leaving 1,704 employees at the risk of losing jobs.

Founded by former Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan, the company operates 73 gym and 50 retail sites across the UK.

In line with the government’s guidelines, 59 gym sites have re-opened in England and Northern Ireland. The remaining 14 gym sites will re-open in England, Wales and Scotland based on guidelines.

BDO Business Restructuring partners Graham Newton and Ryan Grant have been appointed as joint administrators. They are exploring “a possible sale of all or part of the business as a going concern” to save jobs.

Fitness First Clubs and its 43 club sites, which remains as a separate firm, will not be affected by the move, the firm said.

BDO Business Restructuring partner Graham Newton said: “The well-publicised challenges for the retail and leisure sectors from the impact of Covid-19 have significantly affected DW  Sports’ business.

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“However, we are continuing to trade while we explore the sale of as much of DW Sports’ business as possible.”

DW Sports, which closed 25 of its stores before administration, has also started closing down sales across the remaining retail stores.

The company’s website has also stopped trading with immediate effect.

In a separate development, independent travel agent chain Hays Travel reportedly revealed plans to cut up to 878 employees.

Recently, travel company TUI revealed plans to close 166 stores in the UK and Ireland, leaving around 900 staff at risk of losing jobs as coronavirus pandemic sinks travel demand.

Last month, UK high street retailer Selfridges planned to cut 450 jobs or 14% of its workforce across its department stores.