The owner of high street off-licences Threshers and Wine Rack is fighting to stave off an administration that could threaten thousands of jobs, it was reported today.
First Quench has been investigating various options for the business, including trying to find a buyer should it fail to come up with an alternative to administration, according to the Financial Times.
It is thought the situation could come to a head within the next few days.
At the beginning of the year First Quench, which currently has a total of 1,300 outlets, warned that some of its stores would close if it was unable to renegotiate rents with landlords.
A turnaround plan was implemented, including cost savings, the closure of loss-making stores and cutting of stock.
The report said First Quench has already warned over its ability to continue as a going concern after the business was hit by declining demand and the withdrawal of credit insurance.
A source told the FT that administration could not be ruled out.
First Quench - which also owns convenience store chain The Local - employs a total of 6,500 staff, most of which are part-time.
It is understood that a pre-pack administration - where the business is able to rise out of administration almost immediately following a pre-arranged sale of its assets - is a potential option for the firm.
A company voluntary agreement - which involves insolvency arrangements with creditors and avoids administration - is also thought to be a possibility, although this process is considered less suited to First Quench.
The firm declined to comment today.
According to the FT many Threshers stores have been sold to private investors in recent years, meaning an administration would have a disproportionate effect on smaller property owners.
The report said the stores have proved popular at auction sales and some investors have been buying the outlets for their pensions.Reuse content