More than 30 Budgens stores are set to close with the loss of 815 jobs after the franchisee running the shops plunged into administration.

Food Retailer Operations Limited (Frol), which runs 34 stores under the Budgens fascia, fell into administration last month after suffering “difficult” trading conditions.

Administrators PwC said they had failed to find a buyer for the stores – 15 of which Frol acquired from the Co-op in 2016 – and were looking for firms to take over their leases.

Third of Budgens stores to close

Nine of the 34 stores were shuttered at the weekend. The remaining 25 will close over the next two weeks.

Booker, which is in the process of being bought by Tesco in a £3.7bn deal, owns the Budgens fascia, but the stores are operated by independent retailers.

The 34 stores closing represent around a third of the Budgens estate.

No buyer found

PwC joint administrator Mike Denny said: “Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a buyer and it is not commercially viable to continue trading the stores.

“We are working closely with the Co-op, Usdaw and the relevant Government agencies to ensure that all employees receive the maximum levels of practical and financial support through the redundancy process.”