Thresher to sell 200 leases

22 February, 2008

High street chain moves to streamline business with sale of underperforming stores across all fascias

Thresher is offloading some 200 branches as part of a review of its business. The group has no freehold interests left and is hoping to find buyers prepared to take on the leases of underperforming stores.

The shops are being sold through Christie & Co, though sales details have been circulating within the trade for several weeks and private deals may be imminent for a few dozen sites.

The property agent said there had been strong interest, particularly from independent traders who either wanted to increase the convenience aspect of the shops or introduce more wine specialism and delicatessen products.

The values of the leases vary from £5,000 to £100,000 and shops available are situated in a wide variety of shopping locations and under a range of Thresher Group fascias.

Vision Capital has attempted to churn around 10 per cent of the estate since taking control of the business in July and some of the 200 stores on the market were included in the 45 branches originally put on the market in October. Many trade observers feel Thresher is over burdened by its vast estate and needs to streamline its business dramatically to achieve long-term profitability.

A Thresher spokeswoman said: "Thresher Group is now undertaking a 100-day review that builds towards our three-year business plan, which will take effect from March 2008. As part of this process Christie & Co's corporate retail team has been instructed to sell a number of off-licences in prominent locations across the UK."

Vision Capital bought Thresher in July last year and operates some 1,800 shops under the Threshers, Wine Rack, Local and Haddows banners.

Tony Evans, of Christie & Co, said: "We've had quite a lot of interest from people looking to continue running the stores as off-licences and make improvements to the business.

"There is a really healthy appetite for these stores - people certainly don't see off-licences as a problem area."

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