THE price of metal, a growth in online retail and the recession have been blamed for the demise of a Birkenhead-based jewellers, which has gone into administration after 138 years of trading.

Family owned Pykes the Jewellers called in administrators from Liverpool-based Parkin S Booth on January 3.

Established by William Pyke in 1876, the firm – which employs 23 people across its four stores in Birkenhead, Liverpool city centre and Chester – is up for sale, with joint administrators Ian Brown and John Fisher saying they have already received interest.

Pyke’s current managing director, Eleanor Pyke – the fifth generation of the family to head up the business - is assisting administrators with the sale.

Ms Pyke’s father, John, is chairman of the jewellers, while her brother Steven is one of the directors.

Joint administrator, Ian Brown, told the Globe: “All the stores are open at the moment and there have been no redundancies as we seek a buyer.

“The reason for the failure of Pykes is threefold. One, due to the recession discretionary spending has gone with the number of people buying jewellery having dropped.

“An increasing competition online is also to blame, although they do have a website.

“And finally, the price of metal has gone up, increasing the price of gold rings.”

Pykes has also been hit by the loss of some of its major watch accounts, as well as increasing costs from final-salary pension schemes.