Australian chocolate retailer Darrell Lea said Monday it would close all its shops and only sell products through licensed outlets, with the loss of more than 400 jobs. The confectionery firm, a popular local brand established in 1927, will stay in Australian hands after being sold by administrators to the Quinn family, which has a long history of food manufacturing and distribution. \"Their experience will help Darrell Lea to continue to operate as an iconic Australian manufacturing company with a strong brand presence,\" Darrell Lea administrators PPB Advisory said in a statement. As part of the sale agreement PPB said the firm\'s remaining 27 branded stores would close, effective Sunday, after running at a loss for a number of years and failing to attract \"any meaningful interest\" from buyers. Some 246 permanent and 172 casual staff will be axed. Another 32 shops were closed earlier this year. PPB said Darrell Lea sales \"will continue to be maintained through the network of 1,200 licensed retailers, the existing wholesale customers and through the significant export channel\". The Lea family said it had been a \"very challenging period\". \"The family believes that it has acted to the best of its ability to protect the interests of staff, licensees, suppliers and other key stakeholders,\" the Leas said. Darrell Lea was placed into voluntary administration in July over concerns about its ability to meet its financial obligations. The company also has a presence in Europe, New Zealand and South Africa.