A chain of food stores run by Peterborough’s Secret Millionaire has been placed into administration.
The My Local stores, run by Peterborough retail expert Mike Greene, were placed into administration following weeks of talks to save the business.
Companies across the convenience store sector have faced significant challenges in recent times.Mark Orton, joint administrator
The action comes just nine months after Mr Greene, of Crowland, led a successful £25 million bid to buy 140 M Local stores from supermarket giant Morrisons.
Mr Greene, who featured in Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire show five years ago, was supported by equity firm Greybull Capital LLP in the deal.
But faced with tough challenges, the new management team has not been able to turn around the loss-making chain.
Now 93 of the retailer’s remaining 125 stores will close, with the rest staying open as the search continues for buyers.
Administrator KPMG say if they cannot find buyers those stores will also shut.
The closures have already caused a “significant” number of redundancies.
The business employed 1,658 people.
A spokesman for KPMG said: “Prior to the appointment of the joint administrators, the directors successfully concluded a sale of two stores.
“However, a total of 90 stores have closed, resulting in a significant number of redundancies.
“While a further three are in the process of being closed, the remaining 32 stores remain open and continue to trade.
Mark Orton, partner at KPMG and joint administrator at My Local, said: “Companies across the convenience store sector have faced significant challenges in recent times, through increasing competition, pricing pressures, changes in customers’ buying habits and general structural change within the sector.
“Since taking over the business in October last year, management have faced tough trading conditions and despite their best efforts to improve performance, My Local was ultimately unable to return to viability.
“Having explored a number of other options, the directors were unable to find a way forward and took the difficult decision to place the company into administration.
“Although the majority of stores have now closed, we are in active discussions with a number of interested parties in relation to both the remaining 32 premises that are trading and a small number of those that have closed.
“We are pursuing these opportunities as a matter of priority in the hope that we will be able to conclude successful sales and safeguard as many jobs as possible.
He added: “We will also work closely with all employees over the coming days, in particular ensuring those who have been made redundant receive the necessary support they need.”
Joanne McGuinness, national officer for Usdaw, said: “My Local staff are deeply disappointed by the news that the company has gone into administration.
“We continue to talk with the company about the future of the remaining stores, as we seek to see them successfully transferred to new owners.
“We are also in conversation with Morrisons who have offered to re-employ any former staff who have lost their jobs as a result of My Local store closures.
“In the meantime we continue to provide our members with the support, advice and representation they need.”