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UK meat retailer Crawshaw appoints Ernest & Young executives as administrators

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(Reuters) – Crawshaw Group plc <CRAW.L> said two Ernst & Young LLP executive were appointed as joint administrators, after the UK meat retailer said last week it did not have sufficient cash to restructure.

The company joins a growing list of British retailers that have been forced to seek protection from creditors after being hit hard by competition from online shopping platforms and a rise in costs from the pound’s Brexit-induced weakness.

The administrators, Robert Hunter Kelly and Charles Graham John King, have offered Crawshaw’s business and assets for sale and have entered into discussions with interested parties with a view to agreeing a sale over the coming weeks, the company said.

Administration is a form of creditor protection in the United Kingdom.

The Rotherham-based butcher also said on Monday it cut 354 jobs as it shut 35 stores, while it would continue to employ 261 people to run its 19 open stores.

Crawshaw, whose shares have plunged 80 percent this year before being suspended from trading on Friday, was launched in Yorkshire in 1954 and had 42 of its 54 stores trading on the High Street, with the rest in the Midlands and North of England.

Crawshaw said it closed its distribution centre at Astley and that stores and the rest of its businesses were being serviced and supplied from its remaining distribution centre at Hellaby.

Crawshaw said that non-executive director Stephen Henderson would retire with immediate effect.

The company said in October that it was considering actions including raising additional funding through an equity issue after reviewing its structure and investment in High Street locations.

Crawshaw, which in September reported a double-digit drop in like-for-like sales and flagged increasing pressure in the UK High Street, had brought in a new chief executive officer and chief financial officer to revive its struggling business.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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