First Quench Retailing, the group behind the Thresher off-licence chain in the UK, has collapsed into administration.

First Quench confirmed this evening (29 October) that it has appointed KPMG as administrator. The move puts thousands of jobs at risk.

"The board's discussions with KPMG confirm that the best prospects for the business is a sale as a going concern thereby preserving as many jobs as possible," said a spokesperson for First Quench, which alongside Threshers off-licences also owns Wine Rack, The Local and, in Scotland, Haddows retailers.

It has a combined 1,300 shops across the UK.

"The administrators have confirmed that they will be seeking to operate the business as normal whilst seeking a sale as a going concern and this will include meeting next week's payroll."

Employees were set to be informed of the collapse tomorrow morning, but the group was forced to issue a statement earlier due to intense media speculation.

First Quench has struggled to fend off the effects of recession in the UK. In June this year, the group saw credit lines withdrawn.