The Arcadia group has collapsed into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk.
The group includes popular high street stores including Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton.
Labour Metro Mayor hopeful Dan Norris said: “My thoughts are with those whose jobs are at risk. Through what has been a difficult year for many, retail workers have been resilient and flexible, adapting to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. In the run up to Christmas this is an awful time to be facing the loss of your job.”
There are also fears for staff’s pensions. Under the lifeboat scheme, members who have not reached the scheme’s normal retirement age at the administration date could lose 10% of their benefits, even if they have already started taking the pension.
Mr Norris, who has pledged to be a “jobs first” Metro Mayor, continued: “The decline of local high streets has been happening for some years, but the pandemic and the lockdowns have made this far worse. We need a plan for our town centres and high streets that underpin the social fabric of our communities.”