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Mentzendorff boss: confidence in First Quench was ‘misplaced’

The demise of First Quench Retailing should not be seen as the 'death knell' for specialist wine retailers in the UK, says a leading supplier.

Bollinger and Taylor’s Port importer Mentzendorff is owed nearly £500,000 by the collapsed owner of the Threshers and Wine Rack chains, but managing director Andrew Hawes remains confident the company can recoup much of the money.

Following a successful Retention of Title claim, Mentzendorff has recovered ‘significant quantities’ of its stock from First Quench Retailing’s (FQR) bonded warehouse, which will ‘greatly reduce’ its losses.

Hawes told decanter.com that assurances from internal sources at the company, as well as an injection of capital from its owners, had boosted suppliers’ confidence in the future of FQR.

‘This [confidence] obviously turned out to be misplaced,’ he said.

‘However, it should be noted that some were also in part motivated by a belief in the specialist sector and its capacity to provide a premium and differentiated offering to the consumer.

‘Ultimately FQR weren’t able to do this – but this should not be taken as sounding a death knell for the remaining players in the multiple specialist sector, for whom we see many potential opportunities.

‘It is also very encouraging to see many independents taking the opportunity to expand from one to two/three or more shops, and indeed some completely new entrants to the sector emerging to pick up ex-FQR stores.’

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Written by Richard Woodard

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