The UK off-licence retailer Thresher has moved swiftly to capitalise on the collapse of the Unwins off-licence group by buying 200 Unwins outlets.

The deal was concluded overnight between Thursday and Friday and announced on Friday morning. Thresher said it intends to re-open the stores, which were closed after Unwins went into administration on Monday night, as soon as possible. It will re-brand the stores under Thresher retail identities.

The Unwins administrators, KPMG, said that around 1,200 Unwins staff may now be re-employed. The administrators announced the closure of all 381 Unwins outlets very shortly after being called in, making around 1,800 staff redundant.

"This is a good outcome for all concerned," said KPMG administrator Myles Halley. "We appreciate it has been a very difficult and uncertain time for staff, particularly in the run-up to Christmas."

Thresher is the largest specialist off-licence retailer in the UK with 2,000 shops operating under a variety of retail brands including Threshers, Wine Rack, Victoria Wine and Bottoms Up.