Collapsed coffee supplier Espresso Essential (EE) owes thousands of pounds to convenience retailers and trade bodies, an administrator’s report has revealed.

betterRetailing understands this does not take into account the large volumes of free stock promised for taking out coffee machine contracts.

The report lists 70 organisations said to be owed funds by EE. This includes the NFRN, Unitas Wholesale and the Scottish Grocers Federation. Retailers affected include Costcutter, Premier and post office owners.

According to the report, EE owes more than £1.4m, mostly to banks, HMRC and car leasing companies. The administrator said: “Following a number of years of growth, the business experienced cash-flow issues in 2018 and 2019. The issues primarily arose from the business model of offering ongoing maintenance and ancillary consumable suppliers within an initial sales agreement which turned out to be onerous.”

Retailers told betterRetailing they had been left thousands of pounds out of pocket when the company went into administration in July. EE provided coffee machines on one-to-three-year leases provided by third-party finance company Henry Howard Finance. Retailers will still have to pay, despite Espresso Essential breaking its contractual promises.

Coffee supplier Simply Coffee also ceased trading in April of this year