Trade buyers and private equity groups are circling collapsed Threshers owner First Quench Retailing as the deadline for bids draws near.
Trade buyers are understood to include Oddbins, value chain Bargain Booze, and European Food Brokers, which bought 109 Wine Cellar shops earlier this year after it collapsed into administration.
First Quench director John Cleland is thought to still be weighing up buying back part of the chain.
Private equity firms Gordon Brothers and Better Capital - set up by former Alchemy boss Jon Moulton - are also said to be interested in parts of the chain, which fell into administration last week. Gordon Brothers is thought to be interested in part of the business, but with a different business model. Sun Capital Partners is also thought to be interested.
One source said most buyers see potential in around three to 500 stores under the Threshers and Wine Rack fascias. They said: “There’s potential in a vastly reduced chain, but the business needs a lot of work and investment.”
A spokeswoman for administrator KPMG said it has received around 60 expressions of interest for chunks of the business from 20 stores upwards. She said the process should be wrapped up in the next two weeks.
KPMG also confirmed that it is working with HM Revenue & Customs, as it is one of the creditors.
Joint administrator Ian Corfield said KPMG is working with the department to gauge the full extent of the tax liability. He said: “The tax debt is substantial in this case and we are therefore liaising directly with HM Revenue & Customs.”
Meanwhile, a group of franchisees have approached law firm Blake Lapthorn in a bid to salvage something from the collapsed chain.