Threshers stores are more likely to be taken over by bookmakers, food-to-go outlets and hairdressers than off-licence chains, claim industry insiders.

Growing competition from supermarket and c-stores' alcohol offerings meant small local off-licences were no longer viable, they said, adding that many would be better suited to other uses.

Greggs, the food-to-go chain, is to understood to have put in a bid for about 100 of the stores. The stores were also an ideal size for bookmakers, said one off-licence boss.

"While the more profitable stores could remain off-licences, it's highly likely other types of retailers could find other uses," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if 200 become bookmakers."

His view was echoed by Stuart MacFarlane, boss of AB InBev UK, which supplied Threshers owner First Quench Retailing. "I think many could end up as betting shops, which can open them quite cheaply, and Greggs could take several," he said. "A core will probably remain as off-licences. I can't see someone coming in and buying the company lock stock and barrel."

High overheads and a fiercely competitive market had made life very difficult for small off-licence chains, said David Stoddart, a retail analyst at Altium.

Some 380 FQR stores had been making a loss and were closed within days of KPMG taking over, and were unlikely to be reborn as off-licences, he said.

"If a large-scale off-licence chain can't make it work, then why should a smaller chain be able to? They will have less bargaining power with suppliers."

However, KPMG administrator Richard Fleming said he had received bids from businesses in the off-trade. "We have still got a big number of stores that people want to run as off-licences," he said. "The biggest transactions we are dealing with are from competitors rather than from people who want to use them for other reasons."

Costcutter, which had expressed an interest in the stores, said it had now decided not to put in a bid.