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1700 GO IN SHOP CHAIN COLLAPSE; 373 off-licence stores to close.

Byline: Paul Drury

MORE than 1700 jobs are to go with the closure of 373 off-licences.

First Quench - who also trade as Wine Rack, The Local, Haddows, Bottoms Up and Victoria Wine - crashed into administration last month.

Their 53 Scots branches are now expected to close in the next few weeks.

Administrator Richard Fleming, of KPMG, confirmed: "After reviewing the viability of the store network, 373 loss-making stores are to be closed.

Discount

"Liquidation sales will take place at each of these stores, with the stock being sold off at a discount."

First Quench went into administration after cutthroat competition for drink sales from supermarkets.

This is the second round of cuts at the group after KPMG axed 81 jobs at the HQ last month.

Administrators said 1738 jobs would go in the latest round of redundancies and stores across the brands would be hit.

They were unable to confirm the number of Scots workers who would be affected.

First Quench operate around 1200 stores around Scotland, England and Wales under their brands and employ around 6300 people.

Fleming said the group's remaining stores will remain open and trade as normal while administrators search for a buyer. He added: "We are confident of achieving a sale in the coming weeks."

Threshers were founded in 1897. They were bought by Flowers Breweries in the 1950s and became part of Whitbread in 1962.

Whitbread merged the chain with Victoria Wine in 1998 to create First Quench, who were bought by private equity firm Principal Finance for pounds 225million in 2000.

CAPTION(S):

AXED: Some of the chains owned by First Quench
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 6, 2009
Words:269
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