First Quench jobs to go as administrators announce store closures

More than 1,700 staff at off-licence group First Quench are to lose their jobs after administrators announced they are to close 373 shops by 2 December.

First Quench operates several off-licence chains, including Threshers, Wine Rack, The Local, Bottoms Up and Victoria Wine. It also controls Haddows in Scotland.

The chain, which collapsed into administration last week, has 1,200 outlets and employs some 6,300 staff, half of which are full-time.

Richard Fleming, UK head of restructuring at KPMG, and joint administrator of First Quench, was reported in the Guardian as saying the closures were the result of a review of the viability of the network.

He added: “Depending on stock levels, 247 of the stores will continue to trade until 25 November, with 126 trading until 2 December.”

The stores to be closed will now hold liquidation sales to get rid of unwanted stock. Details of the sell-offs will be posted on the company’s website from noon tomorrow.

The administrators had warned last week that closures and redundancies were inevitable, but they hope to sell the rump of the business to a new buyer.

“So far, we have received considerable interest in the business from a range of buyers, including trade, individual investors and private equity,” said Fleming. “The remaining stores are trading well and we believe they present an attractive investment. We are confident of securing a sale in the coming weeks.”

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