Supermarkets

Morrisons secures McColl’s deal saving 16,000 jobs and pensions

Following its collapse last week, Toby Banfield, Rachael Wilkinson and Rob Lewis of PwC were appointed as joint administrators

Alliance Property Holdings Limited, part of the Morrisons Group, has secured a rescue deal for embattled retailer McColl’s that will see all 16,000 staff transferred, alongside more than 1,100 nationwide outlets.

The deal also sees Morrisons agreeing to rescue the group’s two pension schemes which have more than 2,000 members.

The group had faced financial pressure over recent years resulting from Covid-19 related disruption and, most recently, supply chain challenges, creating issues in product availability.

Mixed trading impacted the group in March and April 2022. While a recovery in trading performance had continued during the first half of March, the business experienced softer trading through the Easter period, impacted by reduced consumer spending and continued supply chain disruption across the industry.

Following its collapse last week, Toby Banfield, Rachael Wilkinson and Rob Lewis of PwC were appointed as joint administrators of McColl’s Retail Group plc, Martin McColl Limited, Clark Retail Limited, Dillons Stores Limited, Smile Stores Limited, Charnwait Management Limited and Martin Retail Group Limited.

A deadline was set for 18:00 BST on Sunday (8 March) for final bids, with Asda owners, EG Group, thought well positioned for the purchase until Morrisons’ final hour bid.

Rob Lewis, joint administrator and partner, PwC, said: “Especially during the current economic climate, the completion of this transaction provides much needed certainty to McColl’s 16,000 staff after a period of understandable concern following the Group’s challenges over the past months.

“As well as saving thousands of jobs, this deal secures a platform for the trustees of the group’s pension schemes to enter into arrangements which will protect the pensions entitlements of so many people. All in all a really positive outcome.”

He added: “Morrisons Wholesale Supply Agreement will continue in place after the transaction minimising disruption to customers and employees as all stores will continue to trade. We wish Morrisons well with integrating McColls into their business.”

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