Wine Rack brand saved but FQR to cut 2,000 jobs

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The Independent Online

The Wine Rack fascia will remain on the high street after a wholesaler bought the brand and a handful of stores yesterday, but the administrator to Threshers owner First Quench Retailing (FQR) said that 2,140 jobs will be lost with the closure of a further 391 stores.

Laki Christoforou, the chairman of Venus Wine & Spirit Merchants, plans to grow the Wine Rack business, but the wholesaler has only bought 13 of the chain's 370 stores. The off-licence group FQR had 1,202 stores – including Haddows, The Local and Victoria Wine – when it collapsed into administration at the end of October.

While KPMG unveiled the sale of a further eight of FQR's stores to SEP Properties yesterday, it has only sold 21 out of 500 stores. As a resut, KPMG announced the closure of another 391 stores, including all the Haddows stores in Scotland, yesterday. The property firm Christie & Co said it has received about 500 offers on 750 stores.

Richard Fleming, a joint administrator at KPMG, said: "Unfortunately, despite the initial high level of interest, it remains difficult for buyers to complete deals in the current tough market. However, we are still in talks regarding the sale of over 100 stores."

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