Over 800 jobs have been put in jeopardy as more than 30 Budgens food stores will be shut after the company that owns them was plunged into administration.
Food Retailer Operations Limited (FROL), which owns 34 shops of the popular chain, entered administration in February on the back of "difficult" trading conditions. Accountancy firm PwC, which was appointed as administrator, said on Tuesday (7 March), that it has failed to find a buyer for the shops, which FROL acquired from the Co-op in July 2016.
Nine sites were closed over the weekend, with the remaining 25 to be shut over the next two weeks.
"Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a buyer and it is not commercially viable to continue trading the stores," Mike Denny, joint administrator at PwC, was quoted as saying by the BBC.
"We are working closely with the Co-op, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers and the relevant government agencies to ensure that all employees receive the maximum levels of practical and financial support through the redundancy process."
The development, however, will not affect the remaining Budgens stores, which account for approximately two-thirds of the chain's total shops and are owned by Booker Group, which is set to be merged with retail giant Tesco.