Food Retailer and Off License Information During Covid Pandemic



Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are living through an unprecedented time. Many business owners and individuals are being hit hard by the closure of non-essential businesses. However, the government has deemed certain businesses ‘essential’ and they have been permitted to continue trading during the lockdown. This means that for some businesses, like food retailers and off-licenses, there has been a huge increase in sales. 


There may be many people who are looking to purchase a food outlet and off-license and there may be many owners who are looking to sell. Kaiser Solicitors are here to help business owners and prospective buyers negotiate contracts during the unusual circumstances we all find ourselves in at present. 



Can my food shop or off license stay open during Covid- 19?


Food retailers and off-licenses have proved that they are an essential part of the UK infrastructure. In times of crisis, it is imperative that these service industries keep trading.



Can I buy an off license or Food Shop during pandemic?


Selling or buying a small business can be challenging and stressful at the best of times as it is an extremely complex legal process, and during the lockdown, when we are not able to be as mobile as we usually are, it is extremely important that you have a highly experienced and trustworthy solicitor working on your behalf. This will ensure that you are guided through the process from the outset. It is important that you understand what is going on at every juncture. Even if you have sold businesses before it can be a daunting procedure. 


Your solicitor will need to draft the asset purchase agreement. If you are selling a limited company the buyer’s solicitor will need to draft a share purchase agreement.


You will also need to list exactly what is included in the sale, for example:


  • Fixtures
  • Fittings 
  • The transference of employees 
  • Any stock


Any prospective buyer will also want to ensure that your business has been valued properly. 


There will be multiple assets to consider, such as: 


  • Property value
  • Intellectual property
  • Turnover
  • Staff


Your legal team will ensure that the true value of your company is assigned. 


Once an offer has been made  the buyer’s legal team will conduct due diligence to make sure there are no unforeseen liabilities. Due diligence can be a lengthy process, but it is essential.  


The buyer’s due diligence inquiries could include: 


  • The last three years of accounts
  • Whether any of your assets are on hire purchase
  • Whether you have made any insurance claims


From a buyer’s point of view once you’ve found a business that you are interested in buying you need to let the agent know. We will contact the seller’s solicitors and request the asset purchase agreement if you are buying goodwill and assets. If you are buying a limited company it is a purchase of shares and your solicitor will need to draft the share purchase agreement.


If the offer is accepted, the buyer’s legal team will conduct due diligence to make sure there are no unforeseen liabilities. If serious concerns are raised you could be advised to walk away from the deal. Due diligence can be a lengthy process, but it is essential.  This is because English law does not provide much protection over such purchases. Once we are satisfied with the due diligence inquiries we can agree on the sale contract and complete. 


Whatever your reason for selling or buying a business during the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in, remember that Kaiser Solicitors are here to help you every step of the way.