First Quench franchisees bring in lawyers in bid for independence

Thresher franchisees are mounting a legal challenge to force administrator KPMG to release them from their contracts.

Fifty five franchisees have joined together in a bid to be excluded from the package being sold so they can operate as independent stores.

One franchisee told OLN: “We’re all sticking together, we don’t want a buyer unless it’s acceptable to us all. KPMG are not happy that we are fighting back, they want us to roll over."

He described being a franchisee as “an awful experience” and blamed FQR for “ripping franchisees off with fees” and for failing to deliver stock to stores for long periods of time last year.

According to Geoffrey Sturgess, at Blake Lapthorn, which is representing the franchisees, the group are also considering putting in a collective bid to purchase the franchised estate.

He said: “Unlike employees, who always have the right to refuse to transfer to a purchaser of a business if they do not like, or disapprove of, their new boss, franchisees can, in theory, be transferred without their consent.”

Sturgess added that he is “pretty confident that they have the right to walk away if they do not like the purchaser”.

KPMG said it was in the process of marketing the business of FQR for sale “including the franchisee business”.