391 more First Quench closures

Administrator KPMG has called time on the bulk of the remaining First Quench stores.

Closing down sales will begin at a further 391 stores on December 1, with closure scheduled for December 20 at the latest, depending on stock levels.

The latest closures will bring a further 2,140 redundancies.

Venus Wine & Spirits Merchants has already bought 13 stores and the Wine Rack brand name in a deal announced earlier today, and eight stores have been sold to SEP Properties.

KPMG said it was in talks over the sale of a further 100 stores – thought to include some of the shops slated for closure – and expected to make an announcement shortly.

Only around 50 remaining First Quench stores have yet to receive closure notices.

Richard Fleming, UK head of restructuring at KPMG, said: "Despite the initial high level of interest, it remains difficult for buyers to complete deals in the current tough market.

"We remain hopeful that some of the 391 stores announced today might still be sold as going concerns before the closure process is completed, but with stock now running low in the remaining stores it has been necessary to make plans to close them."

Some 247 stores from the first batch of 373 closures announced by KPMG have now shut their doors for the last time.