Administrators have closed almost half the EFB Retail estate and raised £11.4 million through asset sales since they were appointed in February.

Philip Duffy and Matthew Ingram of Duff & Phelps are handling the administration process for the firm, which owns the Oddbins, Wine Cellar Trading and Whittalls Wines Merchants fascias.

It had 103 stores when it collapsed earlier this year and just 56 now remain open. They are still being traded by the joint administrators, according to an update filed at Companies House on September 5.

The administrators identified 45 unprofitable stores to close via an orderly wind-down, and a further two stores were closed prior to the appointment date, leaving 56 remaining.

A total of 193 staff have been made redundant and they are in the process of claiming for their entitlements.

The administrators said they were continuing to seek a sale of the business and assets of EFB Retail as a going concern.

Duffy and Ingram confirmed that there were initially six offers to buy the remaining stores and they had selected a preferred buyer. 

Law firm Shoosmiths was instructed to draft sales agreements. However, there was a delay in the sale process as the purchaser was trying to “resolve a couple of points that had arisen from their ongoing due diligence”.

The proposed purchaser will effectively take an option to buy each individual store as a going concern in a series of individual transactions. 

Such options would then be exercised upon them receiving the consent of the landlord with agreed terms.

The administrators said they expect the sale to complete within the next reporting period.

This week, Oddbins posted job ads seeking trainee assistant managers for its London stores.