Sales of alcohol are set to be back on at McColl’s from tonight (Thursday), it’s being reported. The stores have been unable to offer booze to customers since Monday (May 9).
Booze sales were stopped after Morrisons inked a deal to take over the ailing chain. McColl’s had to transfer the alcohol license of each store following the takeover.
The transition meant that alcohol could not be sold, reports GloucestershireLive. But now Morrisons has said it is working “at pace” to apply for all the correct licences.
The supermarket chain beat EG Group in a takeover battle for McColl’s. All McColl’s jobs have been guaranteed by bosses as the firm’s shops transfer to the new owner, while Morrisons will take over the company’s two pension schemes.
The convenience chain fell into administration on Friday (May 6), plunging the future of its 1,160 shops and 16,000 staff into doubt. It came after the UK’s fourth-largest supermarket chain and forecourt giant EG Group both tabled final offers on Sunday to secure a rescue deal for McColl’s.
EG – whose owners also run supermarket giant Asda – had initially been favourites to complete a rescue deal for McColl’s. Morrisons’ early approaches had reportedly been rejected by lenders who preferred EG’s offer to instantly repay more than £160 million in debts from McColl’s.
However, it is understood that Morrisons’ successful move will also repay the lenders in cash. In a statement after the deal was announced, it said that “the secured lenders and preferential creditors will be paid in full with a distribution also expected to unsecured creditors”.
Morrisons had also originally proposed to only save the “vast majority” of jobs and stores, but improved this offer during the bidding process. “All McColl’s colleagues will be transferred with the McColl’s business to Morrisons,” the supermarket said on Monday.
Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “Although we are disappointed that the business was put into administration, we believe this is a good outcome for McColl’s and all its stakeholders. This transaction offers stability and continuity for the McColl’s business and, in particular, a better outcome for its colleagues and pensioners.”
Morrisons is currently McColl’s wholesale supply partner and was expected to immediately terminate its deal with the convenience chain if the takeover move proved unsuccessful. McColl’s also runs around 270 stores under the Morrisons Daily brand.