Availability is dropping and some centrally-owned stores are closing down as Bargain Booze owners Conviviality steps closer towards administration.
Staff members told Retail Express: "As we were closing up we received a phone call telling us to pack the stock up, and go home because the store was shutting down." Retail Express has seen evidence confirming the store closures.
The claim of store closures was denied by a Conviviality spokesperson who told Retail Express: "Our Bargain Booze store networks – both centrally managed and franchised – are open for business and operating as usual. There has been no directive from the business to close any stores.”
A franchisee told Retail Express: "Only about 70% of our orders are turning up. We could go elsewhere but because we receive target-related retro payments, we are really stuck in terms of cash flow. We've heard nothing from Conviviality other than that they are in takeover talks with several potential buyers."
Bargain Booze franchisees are said to be looking to other wholesalers to fill gaps, to have a back-up incase of total collapse and to switch fascias regardless of the outcome of the Conviviality takeover talks.
"No matter what happens I am leaving, I can not believe the way Bargain Booze has acted over the past couple of weeks, increasingly poor service and shamefully low margins," said a different franchisee.
"I personally know of 20 franchisees who will be leaving and a load more once they realise what other companies are willing to offer us," they added.
Rival symbol group Best-one said it had received strong interest from Bargain Booze franchisees looking to switch.
Read how Bargain Booze retailers are reacting to the collapse of Conviviality