Threshers Fails To Deliver For Franchisees


Some franchisees of the off-licence chain Threshers are suffering a stock crisis and are furious about how its private equity-owned parent, First Quench Group, is running the operation.

One franchise said that some stores are receiving “on average only about 55 to 60 per cent” of products ordered over the past two months, citing availability problems with well-known brands including Bacardi and the New Zealand wine Montana Sauvignon Blanc, although these can vary on a weekly basis. Some of the out-of-stock problems relate to Threshers’ suppliers having their cover scaled back by leading credit insurers.

The revelation about product availability comes after First Quench – which operates 1,400 Threshers, The Local and Wine Rack fascias – issued a “going concern” warning, citing a “material uncertainty” that cast significant doubt on its ability to continue trading, according to accounts filed at Companies House earlier this month. For the period from 16 May 2007 to 28 June 2008, the group made a pre-tax loss of £30m.

A Threshers franchisee said: “Far and away the most serious issue is that of stocks. Inquiries about missing products are ignored. We are just told that it is ‘out of stock’ in the warehouse.” The franchisee also cited “out-of-stocks” with Macallan malt whisky and Lamb’s Navy Rum, adding: “We never know what is coming in from one week to the next – yet they want us to increase turnover.” Continue reading this post.

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