The firm was founded by Cecil Jacobs who opened his first chemist shop in Leicester in 1939.

Jacobs, which operates 19 stores across the UK and employs 154 staff, has called in accountants PKF (UK) LLP to handle its affairs.

Eddie Kerr, a partner at PKF said: ‘It’s desperately sad to see a family-run business such as Cecil Jacobs encounter problems.

‘The company has a rich heritage and loyal customer base, but this has not been enough to see it through the ongoing economic slowdown.’

Kerr added: ‘Our plan is to keep the business running in the short term and undertake an immediate review of the company’s estate, with a view to finding a buyer, if possible, for the going concern.’

More details will follow on this story as we get them confirmed.

The following message was posted on the firm’s website earlier today:

‘PKF (UK) LLP were appointed Joint Administrators of the Company on 1 June 2012.

‘The affairs, business and remaining property of the Company are being managed by them.

‘Partners and staff of PKF (UK) LLP acting as administrators contract without personal liability. In the event that an order cannot be fulfilled a full refund of any monies paid will be made.’