THE owners of a number of Bargain Booze stores in Furness have confirmed there will be no job losses, following news the firm's parent company was going into administration.

Concerns were raised over the future of the discount alcohol retailer on Thursday when it was announced that the owner, Conviviality, was unable to secure its future following an appeal to its shareholders for investment after running up debts of around £30m.

Paul Stephenson has been running a string of stores with his wife Karen for more than 20 years.

As franchisees, their stores are filled with goods supplied by the company, but ran independently.

Mr Stephenson said there would be no job losses in his stores in Settle Street, Risedale Road and Amphitrite Street, Walney.

"As I'm aware every store in Cumbria is a privately owned franchise, and I own all the stores in Barrow.

"It is business as usual for us and jobs are not at risk. I can say 100 per cent there will be no job losses at all in my stores," he said.

The 47-year-old said he had been "totally unaware" of any issues with the company until about three weeks ago when he began experiencing some supply issues.

He added: "With it being a franchise that's where we get our stock from but it doesn't have any reflection on us other than that.

"We could set up alternative support, and Conviviality have been trying tirelessly to sort it out for us.

"Convivial have gone into administration yet but there is a lot of interest with regards to a buyout."

There is also good news for store employees in Millom as the owners have confirmed there will not be any job losses at the branch.

More than 2,500 people are employed by Conviviality at its Bargain Booze branches and other holdings across the UK.

There are 14 branches across Cumbria, including three in Barrow, and one in Millom, Ulverston, Dalton and Grange.

According to the company's most recent annual report released in August, Conviviality employs over 2,600 people and has more than 700 retail stores trading primarily as Bargain Booze, Select Convenience and Wine Rack, alongside 352 franchises.

Conviviality said it plans to continue trading and will work alongside advisers as it explores a "number of inbound enquiries" over a possible sale of all or parts of the business.

In a market announcement, Conviviality said: "Following discussions with its lending banks, the board has resolved to file notice of intention to appoint administrators to the company.

"Unless circumstances change, and in accordance with statutory requirements, the board intend to appoint administrators within 10 business days."

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"As I'm aware every store in Cumbria is a privately owned franchise, and I own all the stores in Barrow.

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