Stoke-on-Trent based pottery Dudson has fallen into administration, with 318 jobs made redundant with immediate effect.
According to the GMB union, as reported by BBC News, staff at the 200-year-old, family-owned business were told of the news with no prior warning.
Administrators PwC said Dudson had "experienced significant cash flow pressures as a result of deterioration in sales and increased costs".
Ross Connock, joint administrator at PwC, said: "Unfortunately, due to challenging conditions it is not commercially viable to continue trading the company. Despite best efforts to sell the business as a going concern, sadly it was not possible. Our thoughts are with the employees affected and we will support them at this difficult time.
"Alongside supporting those staff affected, our focus will now be on realising value for creditors from the remaining assets, including property, stock and plant and equipment, as part of the administration."
PWC explained that 72 members of staff will be retained to support the closing down of the business.
The Dudson brand and other intellectual property, have been sold to Churchill China, which is also based in Stoke-on-Trent.
The news follows weeks of speculation regarding the health of the company after the firm sold its Furlong Mills clay-making business to Portmeirion and Churchill China.Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).