First Quench will be sold 'within a month'

The administrators called in to manage the collapse of First Quench Retailing are hopeful of finding a buyer within a month.

KPMG said it had received a large number of calls from interested groups including retailers, wholesalers and distributors.

It said the estate of 1,300 stores could be carved up and sold in individual parcels or as a complete set.

Staff have been told that stores will remain open while a buyer is found, though KPMG said earlier today that store closures and redundancies were likely as it assessed the viability of each outlet. Eighty one head office jobs were cut this morning.

Law firm Blake Lapthorn is running a free legal clinic for FQR's franchisees to explain how they will be affected by the administration.

Geoffrey Sturgess, a franchise law specialist at the firm, said: "Franchisees find themselves in a very precarious situation if the franchisor goes bust. Individual franchisees may not have the resources, expertise or muscle to do anything but hope that the administrators sell them to a new franchisor and one which they would have chosen as a suitable, ethical franchisor. Acting collectively they can afford the expertise and have the muscle to take advantage of what may be a 'once in a contract' chance to improve their position or limit their losses."

The session will take place at Blake Lapthorn's Oxford office on November 4.