Jobs lost as Preston branch is shut

Mark Orton of KPMG
Mark Orton of KPMG
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A Preston car parts branch has been closed with the loss of nine jobs after Unipart Automotive Ltd went into administration.

Mark Orton, Will Wright, and Jonny Marston from KPMG have been appointed joint administrators to the company, one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of car parts, workshop consumables and garage equipment.

Headquartered in Solihull, Unipart operates a network of 180 branches and distribution hubs, including one in Great George Street, Preston, trading under the Unipart Automotive, Partco Autoparts, and Express Factors brands. It employs 1,813 people.

Immediately upon appointment, the administrators sold part of the business in a joint deal to Andrew Page, one of the UK’s largest disttributors of car parts, workshop equipment, tools and diagnostics, and The Parts Alliance. The deal will see Andrew Page acquire 21 branches and The Parts Alliance a total of 12. A total of 361 staff employed across these sites have transferred to Andrew Page and The Parts Alliance with immediate effect.

The remainder of the Unipart Automotive business has ceased to trade and 1,244 members of staff have been made redundant. A total of 208 members of staff have been retained.

Unipart sites including Warrington and Lytham St Annes have transferred. But the garage in Great George Street, Preston, has closed with immediate effect.

Mark Orton of KPMG said: “Despite intensive efforts over recent weeks, a sale of the whole Unipart Automotive business could not be reached, and a buyer could only be found for 33 of the sites on a going concern basis.”

The company also directly supports Unipart Car Care Centres, which are unaffected.