Oddbins sells 37 stricken stores to Whittall’s

 
Steve Dinneen
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ODDBINS administrator Deloitte has sold 37 of the 85 stricken stores to Whittall’s.

The wine retailer was forced into administration earlier this month after its creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs, refused to accept lower repayment terms.

Whittall’s, which is a subsidiary of multi-millionaire Raj Chatha’s European Food Brokers, said yesterday the deal means investment in the stores can resume. Around 200 jobs will be saved thanks to the deal.

A Deloitte spokesman said: “We are currently engaged in a range of discussions regarding the sale of the remaining 48 open stores and are confident of an imminent deal.”

Oddbins has an annual turnover of £75m, including £2m of online sales.

Chatha has already proved he can turn around failing off-licences. When Unwins collapsed, he snapped up 12 branches for his Whittall’s stores, which he acquired in 1999.

He started his business empire from scratch with a cash and carry operation in Halifax.

First Quench Retailing, owner of Oddbins’ rivals Threshers and Wine Rack, went into administration in 2009.