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Budgens to close 34 stores in UK

RBR Staff Writer Published 09 March 2017

More than 800 jobs are at risk as the owner of 34 Budgens stores failed to identify a buyer.

Food Retailer Operations Limited (FROL), which operates 34 Budgens stores across the UK, has gone into administration less than a year after it acquired the stores from the Co-op in July last year.

The closure of the stores will affect 815 employees.

FROL went into administration last month owing to difficult trading conditions.

The retailer had appointed PwC’s Michael Denny, Robert Moran and Matthew Hammond of PwC as its joint administrators.

PwC joint administrator Mike Denny said: “Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a buyer and it is not commercially viable to continue trading the stores.

"We are working closely with the Co-op, USDAW and the relevant government agencies to ensure that all employees receive the maximum levels of practical and financial support through the redundancy process.”

Following their appointment, the administrators have been assessing interest in the business and have decided to close nine stores by the weekend. The remaining 25 stores are set to be closed in the next two weeks.

Apart from the 34 convenience stores, FROL also had the leasehold interests in another 36 non-trading stores, two non-trading assets as well as the former Somerfield business’ head office.

The Budgens foodstore chain brand is owned by UK based food wholesaler Booker Group which in turn is in the process of being acquired by Tesco.

Booker has issued a clarification that the Budgens which operates 150 stores is performing strongly and is not connected with the FROL-owned Budgens-branded stores.

Image: The entrance to Budgens supermarket, Southam. Photo: courtesy of Andy F/Wikipedia.org.