Unwins, the family-owned off-licence chain, is reported to be close to signing a deal for the sale of its £30m property portfolio.

The company was put up for sale last year by the Wetz family, who have owned the company since 1921.

Unwins was previously involved in talks with Castel, the French owner of Oddbins, last October, but negotiations collapsed.

Bidders were believed to have been unable to meet the asking price for the beleaguered business, according to a report in The Times today.

The company has 387 shops including 96 freeholds, and the property assets are estimated to be worth between £25m and £30m.

The company is close to signing a sale and leaseback deal, according to reports, and it will then use some of the funds raised to roll out its new wine concept.