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First Quench: more jobs to go before Christmas

Nearly 400 more First Quench wine shops are to close before Christmas, with the loss of nearly 2,000 jobs, the company’s administrators said today.

KPMG said it was in ‘advanced talks’ to sell the remaining 500 or so outlets, which operate under the Threshers, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up, Victoria Wine, Haddows and The Local trade names.

In all, 381 of the company’s stores will close by 16 December, leading to 1,908 job losses.

In addition, 34 further redundancies will be made at the company’s head office in Welwyn Garden City, KPMG said.

The announcement means that a total of 754 shops will have closed, with the loss of 3,680 jobs, since First Quench went into administration at the end of October.

Richard Fleming, UK head of restructuring at KPMG and joint administrator, said: ‘We are now in advanced talks regarding the sale of the business with a number of interested parties and have ascertained that parts of the portfolio, consisting of just over 500 stores, are of interest to these potential purchasers.’

Among the rumoured bidders for the rump of the First Quench estate are rival drinks retailers Oddbins and Bargain Booze, as well as European Food Brokers, the Greggs bakery chain and discount retailer Costcutter.

Closing down sales at the 381 stores to close before Christmas will begin on 24 November, KPMG said.

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Written by Richard Woodard

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