The owner of the My Local convenience store chain has announced its intention to put the firm into administration, putting thousands of jobs at risk.
Greybull Capital has lined up accountancy giant KPMG to act as administrator to its chain of more than 100 stores, which employ 2,300 people.
It is understood that staff were briefed about the decision on Tuesday, with management saying the firm is likely to officially fall into administration in the next couple of weeks.
My Local was sold to Greybull last year by supermarket Morrisons and has struggled to compete in the cut-throat grocery sector, which is embroiled in a bitter price war.
The collapse caps a torrid few months for the retail sector, following on from the failures of BHS and Austin Reed,
Joanne McGuinness, national officer at union Usdaw, said: “My Local staff are devastated by the news that the company is going into administration. Having been sold by Morrisons last year, there was a mood of optimism that the new owners could turn around the business.
“We are talking with the company in a bid to save jobs and get the best deal for staff. In the meantime Usdaw is providing the support, advice and representation they need at this unsettling time.”
KPMG will attempt to sell the business as a going concern but, if a buyer cannot be found, then the stores will be sold off piecemeal.
Greybull’s acquisition of My Local was fronted by retail entrepreneur Mike Greene, who appeared on Channel 4 show The Secret Millionaire.