Nine of the Budgens stores belonging to the collapsed Food Retailer Operations Limited (FROL) group have closed, resulting in 179 redundancies.

FROL entered administration earlier in February just months after buying 34 former Somerfield stores from the Co-operative in July 2016. It also holds the leasehold interests in a further 36 non-trading stores, two non-trading properties and the head office of the former Somerfield business.

Administrator PwC said it had been unable to find buyers for nine of the stores, so it was no longer commercially viable to continue trading them. The closed stores are based in Aberystwyth, Blackburn, South Benfleet, Ludlow, Weoley Castle, Norwich, Dagenham (Becontree), Greenwich, and Sydenham.

Mike Denny, joint administrator, PwC, added: “We are working with the Co-op, USDAW and the relevant government agencies to ensure that the employees affected receive the maximum levels of practical and financial support through the redundancy process.

“We are continuing to trade the rest of the stores, with a focus on engaging with interested parties and assessing options.”