Uncertain future for off-licence staff

STAFF at Unwins' off-licences in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Woodbridge face uncertain futures today, with 2,000 jobs at risk after the company went into administration.

STAFF at Unwins' off-licences in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Woodbridge face uncertain futures today, with 2,000 jobs at risk after the company went into administration.

Accountants KMPG were called in as administrators last night by Unwins' main creditor, HBOS, when it lost patience with attempts to rescue the company.

It followed the breakdown of last-ditch talks with potential suitors in a bid to save the 168-year-old firm.

One customer at Unwins in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, today said they had noticed stocks were depleted when they went into the shop last week, but the member of staff who served them had seemed unaware of any problem.


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Many of Unwins' 381 outlets were again closed to shoppers today in the vital final week before Christmas.

Unwins, which is based at Dartford, Kent, employs 2,500 staff but KMPG said it was "too early" to say what would happen to the jobs.

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Unwins, which has a drinks wholesale business as well as its chain of off-licences, was a family-owned business until March, when it was sold for £32 million to DM Private Equity.

In recent weeks, Unwins has put a number of stores up for sale while others have been temporarily closed. Difficulties for Unwins have been stacking up as supermarkets nibbled away at its margins.

Aside from Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, Unwins also has shops in Woodbridge Road East, Ipswich, and Thoroughfare, Woodbridge.

N Are you an Unwins' worker who has been affected? Telephone The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788.

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