Oddbins blames Brexit as it collapses into administration

PUBLISHED: 13:20 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:20 01 February 2019

An Oddbins in Crouch End, North London

An Oddbins in Crouch End, North London

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

550 jobs are at risk as Oddbins went into administration, citing the "deepening unease and uncertainty over Brexit".

It is the second time that the business, which operates 101 off-licences and two convenience stores under a variety of brands, has collapsed in eight years.

Administrators at Duff & Phelps said weaker consumer confidence had put pressure on retail businesses in recent years.

Joint administrator Phil Duffy said: “The continued decline in consumer spending, pointing to a squeeze on household finances, combined with rising living and national wages have put increased pressure on retailers’ bottom lines.

“As wages struggle to keep up with the pace of inflation, and continued, deepening unease and uncertainty over Brexit, means consumers are cutting back on spending.

“Add into that mix rising business rates and rents, and traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers are undoubtedly feeling the strain.”

Buyers for Oddbins will now be sought, with all stores continuing to operate in the meantime.

Ludo Sappa-Cohen, a spokesman for the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: “Brexiteers accuse people of whining on about project fear but the case against Brexit is racking up.

“550 jobs are now at risk, and of course Brexit wasn’t the only factor, but it played a part.

“Sadly this is the latest company of many to look at the uncertain next few years and decide to make a big decision, move operations or lay off staff. Our thoughts are with all the staff affected by this terrible news.

“Brexit has uncorked something that can only be put back in the bottle through a people’s vote.”

The companies which have gone into administration trade under a number of names including Oddbins, Oddies, Simply Drinks, Simply Food & Drinks, Shop2Go and Booze Buster.

European Food Brokers, a West Midlands-based company owned by entrepreneur Raj Chatha and his family, has owned Oddbins since its previous administration in 2011.

Oddbins is the latest in a string of retailers to collapse, following the recent failures of Patisserie Valerie and HMV. Both are now seeking new owners.

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