Former Oddbins owner Simon Baile has bought the leases to five defunct Oddbins stores from the chain's administrator and plans to re-open them as ExCellar wine shops.

Baile is currently putting the final touches to two of the stores, in East Sheen and Surbiton, in South West London.

The other three, in London and Oxford, will bring ExCellar's UK store estate to eight. The deal was financed by Gordon Brothers.

Baile told The Grocer he was considering offering food products such as olives, cheese and charcuterie as well as wine.

"We've got some nice stores in nice locations that have the opportunity to be more than just wine," he said. "The problem with being just a wine merchant is that you're a single-basket entity and don't have the ability to mix your basket profits up in the same way other grocers do. Food and drink go hand in hand. We're not on a crusade or anything like that but we're minded to look beyond just wine at this stage."

Baile's hopes of buying leases on the majority of Oddbins stores were dashed when Raj Chatha's EFB bought 37 sites for Whittalls Wine Merchants.

"We were looking to put together a deal that would have let the majority of the business go forward but we weren't successful," he said. "We got beaten to it by EFB. That's the way it turned out and good luck to them.

"If we'd been successful with Oddbins we'd never have considered making ExCellar a 20 or 30-store business. We didn't get the ability to take Oddbins forward. That's the way it is. For ExCellar it's looking at a small number of stores and building it up."

Administrators from Deloitte have now closed the remaining unsold Oddbins. "They just weren't viable, that's the reality," said administrator Lee Manning. "People are now interested in them for different uses."

Manning confirmed the Oddbins brand had been sold but declined to name the buyer, citing a confidentiality agreement.

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