Oddbins owner blames Brexit as it ‎lines up administrator | Business News

Hundreds more retail jobs are at risk this week as the owner of Oddbins and Wine Cellars, the off-licence chain, lines up administrators for the second time in less than ten years.

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

The move threatens more than 500 jobs at the chain’s subsidiaries, including Wine Cellar Trading and Whittals Wine Merchants.

Operating just over 100 off-licences, EFB is preparing for a pre-pack administration, under which a buyer would be lined up to take on the business immediately after Duff & Phelps’ appointment.

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.

News of the prospective collapse of Oddbins’ owner comes on yet another bleak day for British retailing, with 9000 jobs at risk at Tesco, the country’s biggest supermarket chain.

‎In response to an enquiry from Sky News, a spokesperson for European Food Brokers Limited said: “We have filed a notice of intention to appoint Duff & Phelps as administrators for Wine Cellar Trading Limited, Whittals Wines Merchants 1 Limited, Whittals Wines Merchants 2 Limited and EFB Retail Limited.

“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.

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

“All businesses continue to trade until further notice.

“European Food Brokers Limited and its additional businesses continue to trade and are not part of this announcement.”

It was unclear on Monday how close Duff & Phelps – which handled the administration of BHS in 2016 – ‎was to lining up a buyer for the business.

EFB Holdings, which is based in Walsall in the west Midlands, is owned by‎ Raj Chatha, an entrepreneur, and his family.

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