Threshers in talks over store closures

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The Independent Online

The owner of Threshers, the off-licence chain, are in negotiations with landlords concerning the potential closure of up to 400 unprofitable stores, which may put thousands of jobs at risk.

A spokeswoman for First Quench Retailing - the private equity-backed owner of the Threshers, The Local, Wine Rack and Haddows brands - said: "The number of stores that could close is dependent upon our capacity to reach suitable agreements with these landlords." She added that 100 stores had already closed over the past six months.

The group, which has about 1,500 stores and employs 12,000 staff, was sold to Vision Capital, the private equity firm, in 2007. It has been reported that some staff have been given two days' notice and were told that 400 stores are closing down. Underlying sales at the off licence group are understood to have fallen by 3.5 per cent over the Christmas trading period, as shoppers increasingly stock up on booze at supermarkets.