Oddbins prepares to appoint administrators

The company that owns the Oddbins off-licence chain is preparing to appoint administrators in a move that puts hundreds of jobs at risk.

European Food Brokers is blaming tough conditions on the high street and economic uncertainty created by Brexit for the situation.

Duff & Phelps are to be named as administrators to the business which employs 539 people. EFB said it was continuing to trade and hoped to seek a buyer.

West Midlands-based EFB confirmed it had filed “a notice of intention” to appoint Duff & Phelps following a report by Sky News.

“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,” it said.

“We will endeavour to continue to operate all stores as a going concern while options are assessed for the business, including a possible sale,” it added.

The businesses affected include Wine Cellar Trading Limited and Whittalls Wines Merchants. Oddbins went into administration in 2011 after HM Revenue & Customs refused to support a deal with its creditors.

EFB, which is run by businessman Raj Chatha, bought up some of the Oddbins stores at the time through its Whittalls subsidiary. Oddbins has approximately 45 stores around the UK.