Oddbins falls into administration with 550 jobs at risk

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Oddbins has gone into administration, putting 550 jobs at risk if a buyer cannot be found.

It is the second time the off-licence chain has collapsed in eight years after its owner partly blamed its latest struggles on Brexit.

Sky News reported this week that European Food Brokers (EFB), which has owned Oddbins since its previous collapse in 2011, had filed a notice of intention to appoint Duff & Phelps to handle an insolvency.

At the time, EFB said “the deterioration of the high street, combined with the continuing economic uncertainty surrounding the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, has resulted in an unsustainable, tough physical retail market”.

After Oddbins entered into administration, joint administrator Phil Duffy said: “The continued decline in consumer spending, pointing to a squeeze on household finances, combined with rising living and national wages have put increased pressure on retailers’ bottom lines.

“As wages struggle to keep up with the pace of inflation, and continued, deepening unease and uncertainty over Brexit, means consumers are cutting back on spending.

“Add into that mix rising business rates and rents, and traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers are undoubtedly feeling the strain.”

The search for buyers for Oddbins will now commence as all stores continue to operate in the meantime.

According to information seen by prospective buyers, the business made a net loss of just over £4m in the 18 months to 31 July 2018.

It operates 101 off-licences and two convenience stores under a variety of brands including Oddbins, Oddies, Simply Drinks, Simply Food & Drinks, Shop2Go and Booze Buster.

EFB Holdings, based in Walsall in the West Midlands, is owned by‎ entrepreneur Raj Chatha and his family, who have owned Oddbins since its previous administration.

Oddbins is the latest in a string of retailers to collapse, following the recent failures of Patisserie Valerie and high street music chain HMV, itself in administration for a second time.

Both are now seeking new owners.

(c) Sky News 2019: Oddbins falls into administration with 550 jobs at risk

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