Administrators at KPMG are hopeful they could sell some of the business as a going concern or sell the Stokes name to another retailer.
It emerged this week that Stokes had shut 10 of its 37 stores, which span the south west and Wales, at the beginning of October in a bid to stay afloat. KPMG shut another 10 of the worst performing stores hours after taking over the company on Wednesday, leaving a total of 17 that were still in operation as The Grocer went to press.
"We have had expressions of interest from a few parties," said administrator Richard Hill, who handled the sell-off of the Nearby store estate in 2008. "We would rather sell it off to one buyer, but the business could be broken up and the Stokes name sold off." The prospects for creditors looked poor, added Hill, because Stokes owed far more than its assets were worth.
Stokes had recently refurbished a store in Bath, which had helped attract more affluent customers, but lacked the funds to refurbish the rest of the store estate, he added.
"The company had been struggling for two years, having been hit by the supermarkets. They had recently appointed a turnaround specialist to help the business but ultimately had run out of money."