After failing in its bid to put a refinancing package in place or find a new buyer, the UK off-licence chain Unwins has gone into administration. The company's primary creditor HBOS called in the accountancy firm KPMG as adminstrators late on Monday night.

It is not yet clear what will happen to the 381 Unwins outlets and the company's 2,500 staff. KPMG said it would be making an announcement regarding the immediate future of the stores and staff during the course of Tuesday. In addition to its shops, Unwins also operates a drinks wholesaling business.

The company had been working with the corporate restructuring specialists Kroll to find a new buyer but the failure of last-ditch rescue attempts and the call to the administrators was not unexpected, as the company's plight has worsened significantly in recent months.

Unwins, a 168-year-old business, had been a family-owned concern up until March when it was acquired by DM Private Equity for GBP32m. The new owner's plan was to use the sale of the company's freeholds to wipe out debt and restructure the business.