The retail company who operate Budgens store in Crewkerne has gone into administration, putting staff jobs at risk. Food Retailer Operations Limited, previously known as the Food Retailer Group Ltd, purchased the store in Falkland Square from the Co-operative Group in July 2016, as part of a larger financial deal involving 35 other Co-op stores across the UK.
Administrators at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) were called in on Friday February 10th, after a FROL proposal to secure a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), following a worrying period of difficult trading conditions, was voted down by creditors. The sale process to find a purchaser for all or some of the affected stores is now underway.
Support, advice and member representation is being given to staff by a team of Usdaw representatives and officials (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers). The Co-operative Group (Food Retail) have been in negotiations with Usdaw and have pledged to support former Co-op employees at the 36 affected stores, by helping them to find alternative employment – if no buyer can be found for the stores. Co-op have also said that they will protect their former employees pension rights and ensure that the full redundancy pay which they would have been entitled to when working for the Co-op will be received, if and when needed.
FROL had a licence from the retailer to trade under the Budgens brand name, which is owned by the Booker Group. The Budgens brand name is not part of FROL and therefore its badge, products and other Budgens stores, will not be affected by the recent administration of FROL operated supermarkets. The 36 affected stores are continuing to trade at present while negotiations continue and a buyer is sought.