Elaine Watson
Cellar 5's new owner Maryland Securities has promised to invest in the Booze Buster and Wine Cellar brands after purchasing parent Cellar 5 from receivers last week.
The Manchester based property company beat off competition from First Quench and a second property company to buy the troubled off-licence chain in a sealed bids process.
Stores originally up for sale with Christie & Co have been taken back off the market.
Cellar 5 finance director Paul Gaskell will head the company, which will become a subsidiary of Maryland's retail division.
Under the new ownership, Cellar 5 will continue to be run from its existing head office in Warrington, said Gaskell, but its name would change. "We will rename the company to reflect our fresh start and new outlook."
The retail brands however, would stay. "There will definitely be a strong focus on developing the Booze Buster brand, which will continue to provide a local community service for our customers and offer strong discounts," said Gaskell.
The immediate priority however, was getting stocking back to the right levels and reviewing the chain's pricing and promotional strategy, he added.
There were no plans to dispose of stores or shop floor staff at the 334-strong chain, although there would be some head office redundancies following the sale of Cellar 5's Right Choice c-stores, he said.
Maryland was a property company, but had not bought Cellar 5 with a view to breaking it up, and had a history of buying companies and turning them round, said Gaskell.
BHM, the department store chain purchased from receivers 10 years ago, has since been transformed from a loss making business into a profitable enterprise turning over millions of pounds a year, he stressed.

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