As many as 1,000 former Threshers stores could be returned to landlords without a new tenant.

KPMG, the administrator of First Quench Retailing, said it only expects to sell about 400 of the 1,400 Threshers, Wine Rack, The Local and Haddows stores.

KPMG had sold about 100 stores as going concerns to parties including Rhythm & Booze, Venus Wine & Spirits and Wickham Vineyards.

Since closing the store estate in December, it had already returned 480 stores to landlords but had been working with Christie & Co to sell the remaining 800 stores individually. It has now admitted that it only expects to sell about 300 further sites and some 500 more would end up going back to landlords.

"Stores are going back to landlords all the time we have been surrendering stores since December, it's a continuing process," said Richard Fleming, KPMG's head of UK restructuring. "The difficulty we have had in selling the stores reflects the state of the UK off-licence market."

Once the stores have been returned to the landlords potential tenants can then renegotiate the terms of the lease.

Meanwhile, a report issued to creditors this week confirmed that 'unsecured' trade creditors, which are owed a total of about £41m, can expect to receive just 1.4p for every pound they are owed. In a bid to boost the money returned to creditors, KPMG is exploring the possibility of claiming some of FQR's staff's £40m pension funds.

The report also revealed that KPMG staff working on the administration have been paid an average £361.51p an hour, with partners being paid up to £900 an hour, and had already clocked up fees of £9.5m.

"It's always a bit depressing to read about the administrators' fees, especially when we are getting so little of the money owed to us back," said one trade creditor.

"But, like many creditors, we knew there was a danger of this and we had retention of title, so we are not owed as much as we could have been."