Threshers franchisees seek legal help to avoid 'bankruptcy'

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The Independent Online

Threshers franchisees will today visit a commercial law firm in Oxford to try to salvage something from the wreckage of First Quench, which collapsed into administration last week.

In a statement, the law firm Blake Lapthorn said Threshers franchisees "may find themselves unable to obtain adequate stock in the run-up to Christmas and discover that if they cease trading they will be left with substantial property liabilities".

First Quench, which operates 1,202 Threshers, The Local, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up, Victoria Wine and Haddows fascias, appointed KPMG as administrators last week after racking up debts of £20m and seeing profits tumble.

Franchisees are up in arms over how they have been treated by First Quench for some time. One franchisees said that KPMG, which confirmed this, had told them to pay all outstanding invoices by the end of the month. He said: "We are all in danger of bankruptcy." While KPMG has given franchisees a grace period of at least two weeks to pay the management service fee – equal to up to five per cent of sales – this will still have to be paid. Franchisees are angry as they have had to source products themselves from wholesalers this summer, but First Quench has still been taking their cut.

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