Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Friday, 27 November 2009

Threshers group axes 2,140 jobs

Wine being poured into a glass
First Quench owned Wine Rack, Threshers and Bottoms Up

Drinks retailer First Quench is closing a further 391 stores, resulting in 2,140 redundancies.

First Quench's brands include Threshers, Wine Rack, The Local, Haddows, Bottoms Up and Victoria Wine.

The administrators said the off-licences would close by 20 December at the latest, depending on stock levels.

The total number of job losses since First Quench went into administration in October now stands at 5,928, with 1,145 store closures.

The group has been hit by the recession and stiff competition.

"It remains difficult for buyers to complete deals in the current tough market," said Richard Fleming of KPMG and joint administrator of First Quench.

Operated about 1,200 stores
Employed 6,300 people
Formed in 1998 from Whitbread & Allied Domecq deal

"However, we are still in talks regarding the sale of over 100 stores and hope to be able to make a further announcement about this shortly".

He added that he was optimistic that some of the 391 stores marked for closure on Friday would be sold as a going concern, but with stock now running low in the remaining stores it was necessary to make plans to close them.

Wine Rack deal

Earlier on Friday, a deal was announced to save some of the Wine Rack stores.

Venus Wine & Spirit Merchants (VWSM) bought the Wine Rack trading name and 13 of its 370 stores in the south east of England.

VWSM chairman Laki Christoforou said the shops they were buying were "all profitable".

Mr Christoforou added he was confident that Wine Rack could "soon become a growing and thriving business again".

The stores purchased include Henley-on-Thames, Farnham, Ascot and six in London. The 90 staff at those branches are expected to keep their jobs.

SEP Properties, the commercial property investors and consultants, has also bought 8 stores from the First Quench group.

The news comes a day after the Borders book chain in the UK went into administration.

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