'Store closures likely' at failed Threshers owner

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The administrator of First Quench Retailing, the owner of the Threshers off-licence chain, has said it could be sold off piecemeal after it collapsed late on Thursday evening. Richard Fleming, the joint administrator at KPMG, said: "We know there is going to be a lot of interest in the business. We might end up with one big buyer or five, six or seven transactions."

His comments came after KPMG made 81 of First Quench's head office staff redundant yesterday. While no stores have yet closed, KPMG said: "Unfortunately, it is likely that some store closures and further redundancies will be made." The group, which is owned by the private equity firm Vision Capital, has 6,283 staff, although many work part time. Mr Fleming said First Quench, which operates 1,202 Threshers, Wine Rack, The Local, Bottoms Up, Victoria Wine, and Haddows fascias, was forecast to lose "at least" £20m in the financial year to June 2010.