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McColl's collapse: Staff at convenience stores and newsagents in Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth face axe as retail group goes into administration putting 16,000 jobs at risk



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Staff at a chain of convenience stores and newsagents could lose their jobs after news that the company has gone into administration.

McColl's Retail Group has 1,100 stores UK-wide, including in Snowley Parade on Bishop's Stortford's Parsonage estate, Thorley Neighbourhood Centre at Thorley Park and Bell Street in Sawbridgeworth.

The troubled retailer held talks with its lenders on Friday morning (May 6) in the hope it could extend its loan agreements.

There is a Martin's newsagent, part of McColl's Retail Group, at Thorley Neighbourhood Centre. Pic: Vikki Lince (56509994)
There is a Martin's newsagent, part of McColl's Retail Group, at Thorley Neighbourhood Centre. Pic: Vikki Lince (56509994)

Supermarket giant Morrisons, which is a major wholesale partner, also tabled a last-ditch effort to buy the business.

However, the company said “the lenders made clear they were not satisfied that such discussions would reach an outcome acceptable to them”.

It said the company will now appoint administrators from PwC in an effort to “preserve the future of the business and to protect the interests of employees”.

Sawbridgeworth has a McColl's store in Bell Street. Pic: Vikki Lince (56509748)
Sawbridgeworth has a McColl's store in Bell Street. Pic: Vikki Lince (56509748)

The company said it hopes the administrators will help to “implement a sale of the business to a third-party purchaser as soon as possible”.

It is understood Morrisons is still interested in a takeover, while Sky News has reported that forecourt giant EG Group is interested in a deal.

Earlier on Friday, Morrisons tabled a rescue deal which would take on the business as a going concern, absorb its debts of over £100 million and take responsibility for the company’s pension scheme.

The two businesses are major partners, with McColl’s operating hundreds of convenience shops under the Morrisons Daily brand.

McColl’s has struggled financially in recent years after witnessing soaring costs due to supply chain disruption, inflation and its large debt burden.

On Thursday evening, McColl’s had said it was in talks over “potential financing solutions” to resolve its funding issues.

Shares in McColl’s were suspended earlier this week after the company delayed publication of its latest financial results due to its financing talks.



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