Costcutter and Bargain Booze are among big-name retailers believed to be interested in snapping up stores from collapsed off-licence chain Threshers.

Just under 380 First Quench retailing outlets, which also includes the Wine Rack and The Local brands, have been earmarked for closure by administrator KPMG.

The administrator said competition from supermarkets and independent retailers had contributed to losses of about £20m a year.

Independent retailer David Smith, of Smiths Corner Stores in Grimoldby, Louth, said he was not surprised by the off-licence chain's downfall.

"Organisations like this have policies which suit national conditions, and as a result they are not able to react quickly to changes in their local markets in the way that we independents can," he said.

"Their other disadvantage is that most of their stores are in prime high-street locations, meaning that they are forced to compete with the major players."