Corks Out has closed two of its remaining four branches as part of a dramatic shake-up of its ownership structure.
The Knutsford and Chester sites have ceased trading. A new company, owned by Richard Wood, is now running the Stockton Heath and Alderley Edge branches.
It’s understood that a board meeting took place on November 11 in which the decision was made to put the company into receivership. Three days earlier, the leases, assets and stocks of the Stockton Heath and Alderley Edge branches were sold by auctioneers to Corks Out (Warrington) Ltd, a company incorporated on August 29.
Ruth Yates, who founded the business and established it as one of the highest-profile names in the independent trade, had been a minority shareholder since 2013 when she sold a majority stake to the Wood family.
A rights issue in November 2018 diluted her shareholding to less than 25% and since that time Yates says she has had limited access to company accounts or trading information.
Ruth Yates, her husband Richard Yates and daughter Hayley Staunton had been involved in a legal dispute with the business, claiming unfair dismissal in September 2018. The family say they are consulting lawyers about the courses of action now open to them.
Yates told The Wine Merchant it was “a very sad time it is for me personally at the moment” and that she “wishes all the employees well for the future”.
Richard Wood has been contacted for comment.