Staff at grocery outsourcing firm Jenks have not been paid since April, it has emerged in the wake of the firm’s shock collapse this week.

Jenks entered administration this week and officially stopped trading on Monday. The majority of its 120 staff have lost their jobs, with only a handful remaining to help wind up the business. Staff have not been paid for the past month and are unlikely to be reimbursed for expenses accrued, either.

One former employee, who had been with the business for 15 years, told The Grocer Jenks had tried to grow too quickly and was badly hampered by a major IT failure and logistical problems.

The IT failure echoes the 2005 demise of Food Brokers, which operated a similar business model to Jenks and was eventually brought down by dramatic systems failures.

Jenks co-managing directors Ambrose McGinn and Ross Beattie could not speak to The Grocer for legal reasons. However, a spokeswoman for administrator PWC acknowledged that the issues might have been a factor in the company’s downfall. But she said the wider economic climate was the main catalyst.

“Customers were buying less stock, much of which was coming from abroad, so the impact of the currency exchange was a big factor,” she said.

A rival distributor added: “Recession brings tough times for all, and one can only assume that Jenks suffered from a lack of bank support.” A move to a 350,000 sq ft warehouse in Milton Keynes at the beginning of the year was also a factor.

“Distributors work on wafer-thin margins. Did they cut their cloth enough? It seems not,” he said.

Jenks’ brand portfolio included Del Monte, which in 2007 transferred all sales, marketing, logistics, administration and finance roles to the broker. It also did work for McCormick, Fox’s Biscuits, Ricola and Johnson & Johnson.

Former clients are now thought to be seeking alternative agencies.