Administrators of collapsed Spar chain poised to sell more sites

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The joint administrators of award-winning Spar chain High Noon Stores are negotiating the sale of a further four sites, C-store has learned.

Greg Palfrey, joint administrator at Smith & Williamson, said he was progressing on the sale of another four outlets following the pre-pack sale of the leaseholds of four shops to Euro Garages on January 27. High Noon Stores entered administration at the end of 2016.

Palfrey said there was “very strong interest” in the remaining four sites the administrators were trying to sell.

The administrator made staff redundant before the Euro Garages acquisition but Euro Garages said it had offered the roles back to staff at the outlets in Llyswen, Powys; White Mill, Camarthen; Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan; and Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire.

A Euro Garages spokesman said it would operate the stores as company-owned shops and it was undertaking a refurbishment programme with a view to the stores reopening at the end of February.

Palfrey said it was not clear yet what had gone wrong at High Noon but “suffice to say they ran out of cash and were unable to pay creditors as they fell due. That’s been happening for a while.”

Six of the 10 stores directly owned by High Noon – a business supplied by AF Blakemore – had forecourts and four of the six with forecourts were the ones sold to Euro Garages leaving the administrators with two forecourt leases, which have reverted back to the landlord.

Palfrey said the eight-year-old South Wales company had held the 10 directly-owned stores on lease or freehold. High Noon ran another five stores under licence for Brecon Properties One which were closed, and handed back to the Brecon directors.

Palfrey said he would report on how much was owed to creditors once he had sold the current four stores he was trying to offload and once he had had all the creditor claims in.

C-store tried to contact High Noon managing director Gordon Miller but was unsuccessful. Palfrey said Miller was not planning to buy back any of the stores as far as he was aware.

Miller founded High Noon Stores in 2009 and grew the estate to 16 stores within just a few years. Last year it told C-Store its long-term ambition was to become “truly national” with hundreds of stores.

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