More than 2100 people lost their jobs yesterday as retailer Game went into administration and immediately closed 277 unprofitable stores.

The closures represented almost half of Game’s 609 shops in Britain and Ireland, and around 40 per cent of its 5300 total employees. Administrator PwC is urgently seeking buyers for the rest of these outlets, as well as the firm’s international network of 663 stores which employ 4,000 people.

The troubled group made a loss of close to £18 million in the year to January, as it struggled with high fixed costs and competition from consumers downloading games instead of buying them in store. Its fate was sealed in recent weeks when three big suppliers - Electronic Arts, Capcom and Nintendo - all stopped supplying the firm amid fears about its creditworthiness.

Mike Jervis, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: "The recent job losses are regrettable but will place the company in a stronger position while we explore opportunities to conclude a sale. My team and I will be doing all we can to help the affected employees at this difficult time."

Game’s chief executive Ian Shepherd resigned after administrators were appointed.

“I’ve said a number of times that the administrator, once appointed, takes charge of the business,” he said in a message to staff. “Having two people try to do that is both confusing and a waste of money. With that in mind, I’ve agreed with Mike that I will step down as CEO and the business immediately – this is my final email to you all.”

American firm GameStop has emerged as a favourite to buy some of the Game stores, while bank lenders including the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays are reportedly considering taking ownership of some outlets in exchange for their debts in the business.