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Oddbins rumoured to be in ‘advanced talks’ over buy-back

UK wine merchant Oddbins may be rescued from administration by its former owners four months after being placed in administration, according to new reports.

The administrators of UK wine merchant Oddbins is said to be in ‘advanced talks’ with Walsall-based European Food Broker Ltd’s (EFB) owner Rajinda Chatha, according to  new reports that surfaced at the weekend with Chatha rumoured to take back control of most of the business, although some locations would be sold.

As reported by the drinks business last week, more than a quarter of Oddbins’ stores have shut since the retailer was placed in administration, including 9 in London and four more in towns across the UK.

Out of the retailer’s original 45 Oddbins stores, only 32 have remained open, but the administrators did not respond to db’s query regarding how many of the more than 50 off-licenses operated under sister company Wine Cellar Trading, which entered administration at the same time, are still operational. Primarily based in the North East and North West of England, these operate under the Booze Buster, Simply Drinks, Oddies and Shop2Go fascias.

European Food Brokers put its entire retail business, comprising EFB Retail Ltd, Whittalls Wine Merchants 1 and Whittalls Wine Merchants 2 (both trading as Oddbins), and Wine Cellar Trading – into administration in January, citing Brexit pressure, rising rents and the extremely tough trading on the UK high street.

In March, a spokesman for EFB Ltd told db that it would continue to operate all stores while options were assessed for the business, including the possibility of a sale as a going concern, but that all businesses continue to trade until further notice. It confirmed that European Food Brokers Limited and its additional businesses, continued to trade and were not part of the announcement.

Db understands that although suppliers were being paid in February, store managers had to wait until March to receive stock, with some taking to Twitter to let customers know stock was back on shelves.

Duff & Phelps reportedly declined to comment on the news, while European Food Brokers did not responding to requests for comment.

Analysis to follow…

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