The AMT Coffee chain has been sold out of administration with the rescue of 25 outlets, though 18 will close leaving 100 employees facing redundancy.
The coffee chain, which has sites in airports, rail hubs, hospitals and other locations throughout the UK and Ireland, saw revenues plummet as the pandemic cut footfall.
Administrators were appointed this morning, and hours later the business and assets of the firm were sold to SSP Group plc, a British food service company. SSP will keep 25 AMT Coffee sites that will continue to use the brand name, and retain 200 employees across those locations.
The company’s most recently filed accounts show sales between January 2020 and the same month the following year were down £7.6m compared with the prior period, a fall of 63%.
Overall the company made an annual loss of £3.2m in 2020, against a loss of £1.2m in the previous year.
A strategic report attached to accounts said Covid-19 “dramatically affected” the business. It pointed to a number of other risks and uncertainties the firm faced, such as a “shortage of labour” in the UK, supply chain disruption due to Covid and Brexit, and other economic factors, such as inflation.
Sam Birchall, a director at the firm’s administrator, Interpath Advisory, said: “AMT Coffee is a familiar name to many commuters and travellers across both the UK and Ireland, so we are pleased to have concluded this transaction with such a well-established operator in SSP Group, safeguarding the future of the brand as well as a significant number of jobs.
“Regrettably, a total of 18 sites which have not transferred to the purchaser will close with immediate effect, with approximately 100 employees across those sites and the company’s head office being made redundant.”
Nick Holloway, joint administrator at Interpath, added: “The pandemic and broader economic headwinds have made this a particularly tough period for those working across the UK hospitality industry. Our priority as joint administrators will be to provide support and assistance to those impacted by redundancy.”
The pandemic caused a severe sales slump for coffee chains and independent cafes as spending on takeaway hot drinks in the UK plummeted by 90% in April 2020 during the first Covid lockdown.