|Founded||1998 (Merger of Threshers and Victoria Wine forming First Quench)|
|Headquarters||Welwyn Garden City, England|
First Quench Retailing was the largest independent off-licence retail chain in the UK, with around 1,300 shops operating under several retail brands, though all have now been closed. At the time of First Quench's closure, these included the Threshers, Haddows, The Local and Wine Rack chains.
Its head office was based in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. On 29 October 2009 it was announced that the company had gone into administration.
The company was originally formed as First Quench Retailing by the merger of the Whitbread owned Threshers and the Allied Domecq owned Victoria Wine in August 1998. This brought together the 1,470 Thresher Wine Shop, Drinks Cabin, Wine Rack, "Bottoms Up" and Huttons brands with around 1,500 Victoria Wine, Wine Cellar, Haddows, Martha's Vineyard, and The Firkin. Allied Domecq later sold their 50% of the company to Punch Taverns in September 1999.
In November 1991, Threshers, then owned by Whitbread alone, had bought the Peter Bottomfield Dominic Group from Grand Metropolitan for £50m. The Bottoms Up brand of shops, formerly owned by Peter Bottomfield Dominic, was retained. Peter (Bottomfield) Dominic was separated from GrandMet's IDV group in 1989 to become a retail division.
At time of the merger, the company employed around 20,000 people and claimed to account for around 13% of the take home drinks market – Tesco, in comparison, claimed around 14%. The number of stores and employees were gradually reduced in the years following, although it remained the largest off-licence chain until the company's demise in 2009.
The company's stores were split across several brand focussed trading divisions which were eventually reduced to two. A wine-led division included their premium brand and high wine mix stores, with the 'drinks division' focussed around their convenience driven and drinks-led shops.
The company was purchased by the Japanese private equity firm Nomura Holdings in October 2000 for £225m.
Terra Firma Capital Partners purchased the company in April 2002.
In March 2003 Terra Firma Capital Partners dispensed with the First Quench name and adopted Thresher Group as the overall company identity and trading name – First Quench Retailing Limited remained the legal name.
In July 2003 the company acquired gourmet meal business Leaping Salmon to attempt exploit the natural links between food and wine. They later experimented rebranding some stores 'Thresher + Food' to offer premium ready meals, but after the experiment proved unsuccessful, those stores were eventually reverted to either the 'Thresher's' or 'Wine Rack' brands.
The collapse of rival retailer Unwins led to Threshers buying 200 stores, with the remaining 170 stores closing. The stores were rebranded as either 'The Local', 'Thresher's' or 'Wine Rack'.
In June 2007, Thresher Group was sold to the equity company Vision Capital for around £250 million.
In 2008 the company reverted to using the First Quench Retailing (FQR) name from Thresher Group.
On 29 October 2009 it was announced that First Quench Retailing had entered into administration, and KPMG were appointed administrators.The following day, 81 redundancies were made at the company's head office in Welwyn Garden City.
The brand names Thresher's, The Local, Bottoms Up and Victoria Wine were subsequently purchased by Midlands-based newsagent, off-licence and convenience store operator Dave's Discount Group.The Wine Rack brand was purchased by Convivality Plc (at the time registered as Bargain Booze Holdings Limited).
A convenience store, convenience shop, or corner store is a small retail business that stocks a range of everyday items such as coffee, groceries, snack foods, confectionery, soft drinks, tobacco products, over-the-counter drugs, toiletries, newspapers, and magazines. In some jurisdictions, convenience stores are licensed to sell alcohol, although many such jurisdictions limit such beverages to those with relatively low alcoholic content such as beer and wine. Such stores may also offer money order and wire transfer services, along with the use of a fax machine or photocopier for a small per-copy cost. Some also offer to sell tickets or recharge a smart card, like the OPUS card in Montreal. They differ from general stores and village shops in that they are not in a rural location and are used as a convenient supplement to larger stores.
Waitrose & Partners is a brand of British supermarkets, selling groceries as part of Britain's largest employee-owned retailer, the John Lewis Partnership. Its head offices are located in Bracknell and Victoria, England. Waitrose & Partners has 338 shops across the United Kingdom, including 65 "little Waitrose" convenience shops, and a 5.1% share of the market, making it the eighth-largest retailer of groceries in the UK. They also export products to 52 countries and have locations in the Middle East.
Debenhams is a British multinational retailer operating department stores in the United Kingdom and Denmark, with franchise stores in other countries. The company was founded in the eighteenth century as a single store in London and has now grown to 178 locations across those countries. It sells a range of clothing, household items and furniture.
Alko is the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly in Finland. It is the only store in the country which retails beer over 5.5% ABV, wine and spirits. Alcoholic beverages are also sold in licensed restaurants and bars but only for consumption on the premises.
A newsagent's shop or simply newsagent's or paper shop(British English), newsagency or newsstand is a business that sells newspapers, magazines, cigarettes, snacks and often items of local interest. In Britain, Ireland and Australia, these businesses are termed newsagents. Newsagents typically operate in busy public places like city streets, railway stations and airports. Racks for newspapers and magazines can also be found in convenience stores, bookstores and supermarkets. The physical establishment can be either freestanding or part of a larger structure.
British Home Stores, commonly abbreviated to BHS and latterly legally styled BHS Ltd, was a British department store chain, primarily selling clothing and household items. In its later years, the company began to expand into furniture, electronics, entertainment, convenience groceries and fragrance and beauty products.
Kwik Save is a British convenience store chain that was founded in the United Kingdom. Prior to 2007, it was also a discount supermarket chain that had shops across the United Kingdom. It went into administration in July 2007, but was brought back in April 2012. Its shops were small to medium sized high street supermarkets, mainly located in areas with below average incomes.
Whitbread plc is a British multinational hotel and restaurant company headquartered in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom.
A liquor store is a retail shop that predominantly sells prepackaged alcoholic beverages — typically in bottles — intended to be consumed off the store's premises. Depending on region and local idiom, they may also be called bottle store, off licence, bottle shop, package store, party store, ABC store, state store, or other similar terms. Many jurisdictions have an alcohol monopoly.
Costa Coffee is a British coffeehouse chain which is a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company. It is headquartered in Dunstable, England.
Dan Murphy's is an Australian liquor supermarket chain owned by Woolworths Limited, with 226 stores across the country. Woolworths Limited also owns BWS and Woolworths Liquor, another liquor chain with smaller stores. Dan Murphy's competes principally with Wesfarmers brands 1st Choice Liquor Superstore, Vintage Cellars and Liquorland. The business offers a "lowest liquor price guarantee" and promises to beat any competitor's advertised price.
Unwins was a Kent-based chain of 381 off-licences selling alcoholic beverages, with outlets focused on London and the South East. Unwins was founded in 1843, and went insolvent on 19 December 2005. 200 of the former Unwin stores were subsequently sold to rival Thresher Group.
Amos Hinton & Sons plc was a small supermarket company from the North East of England trading as Hintons, it was acquired in a takeover by Argyll Foods in 1984.
Tie Rack was a British-based tie retailer that sold scarves, cufflinks, and many other items of clothing. The stores were often small due to the nature of the product, and as such, were found in airports, railway stations, and shopping centres across the world.
Alexander David Michael Bruce is an entrepreneur and has been involved in the international brewing and leisure industry since 1966, in a career that has covered both production and retailing.
Oddbins is an off-licence retail chain in the United Kingdom, established in 1963 by Ahmed Pochee.
Happy Shopper is a British brand of independent convenience products and wholesale foods and goods. The brand was originally owned by cash and carry company Nurdin and Peacock, who were subsequently acquired by Booker Group in November 1996.
Chickenfeed was a chain of discount retail stores in Australia, founded in 1990 in Tasmania by the prominent Sypkes family. At its height it had roughly 44 stores in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. It was taken over by Australian Discount Retail Group in 2001, and the brand was discontinued after the parent company went into receivership. It currently has no stores remaining in Australia.
Peter Thomson (Perth) Limited was a Perth, Scotland based whisky blender and wine merchants established in 1908. The company was known for producing Beneagles blended Scotch whisky. In 1983 the firm was bought by Sir Reo Stakis to complement the Haddows off-licence chain and wholesale business.
Bargain Booze is a chain of off licence shops, that operates in the United Kingdom. Established in 1981 in Ettiley Heath Sandbach and named Savon Draught, it grew to 836 shops, and established the Bargain Booze Select Convenience shop franchise. From 2013 to April 2018, it was owned by Conviviality plc, who also owned the Wine Rack chain; both brands were acquired by Bestway on 6 April 2018.