Thirty-four Budgens stores face an uncertain future after the company that acquired them from the Co-operative last year went into administration on Friday (10 February).
Michael Denny, Robert Moran and Matthew Hammond of PwC have been appointed as Joint Administrators of Food Retailer Operations Limited (FROL).
FROL bought the former Somerfield stores from the Co-operative in July 2016, but the company has since experienced difficult trading conditions. The stores, which were converted to the Budgens fascia upon purchase, employ 872 people.
Mike Denny, joint administrator, PwC, said: “FROL has faced significant headwinds in the form of pricing pressures, intense competition and structural change across the food retail sector.
“We are continuing to trade all 34 stores, whilst engaging with interested parties for the sites and the other leasehold interests of the company. We will work closely with the employees over the coming weeks.”
The Co-op has offered to find jobs for its former employees in the 36 affected stores.
Helen Webb, director of HR, Food Retail, at the Co-op, said: “We’re sorry that the company has gone in to administration, and we want to do everything we can to assist former colleagues.
“If no buyer can be found for the stores, we will make every effort to help find alternative employment for those affected. In addition, we have protected the pension rights of former colleagues, and are ensuring former Co-op colleagues receive the full redundancy pay they would have been entitled to when working at the Co-op.”
FROL 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.
The Budgens stores are listed below:
Gillingham - Kent
Rochford - Roche Close
Norwich - Plumstead
South Benfleet - High Rd
Southall - London
Greenwich - High Road
Littlehampton - Wick St
Sherwood - Mansfield Rd
Newport - Shropshire
Buckley - Brunswick Rd
Crewkerne - Falklands Sq
Helston - The Parade
Monmouth - Oldway Centre
Cardigan - Lower Mwldan
Totnes - Fore St
Basingstoke - Winklebury Way
Weymouth - Littlemoor Rd
Shaftesbury - Bell St
Christchurch - Saxon Sq
Tiverton - Market Walk