A further 381 stores owned by First Quench, the off-licence group which operated under the Threshers, Wine Rack, Haddows, Victoria Wine and Bottoms Up fascias, will close in December.

This takes the number of stores closed since the chain entered administration in October to more than 750, and raises fears of a glut of cheap booze on the high street as the affected stores dispose of their stock.

Richard Fleming of administrator KPMG said he believed "a significant number" of the 500 remaining stores could be sold as going concerns, but had no option but to close 381.

Tony Evans of property agent Christie and Co, which has been appointed to assist in the sale of the stores, said that more than 700 expressions of interest had been received for groups of less than 50 stores. C-store chains such as EFB Retail, which bought 100 Wine Cellar stores last month, and Bargain Booze are said to be interested in cherry-picking stores, along with food-to-go chain Greggs and several supermarkets.