Carluccio's has been bought in a rescue deal which will save 30 of its restaurants but result in more than 1,000 job losses.

The dining chain has been bought by Giraffe and Ed's Easy Diner owner Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) in a move which will save 800 jobs.

However, administrators FRP Advisory said it was unable to secure the future of Carluccio's 40 other restaurants, resulting in 1,019 redundancies.

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The Italian chain - which was founded by Antonio Carluccio in 1991 - slid into administration in March after the impact of coronavirus exacerbated the firm's long-standing financial difficulties.

Carluccio's had been owned by Dubai-based Landmark Group, which bought the business for £90 million in 2010.

Phil Reynolds, joint administrator and partner at FRP, said: "The Covid-19 lockdown has put incredible pressure on businesses across the leisure sector, so it has been important to work as quickly and as decisively as possible in an extremely challenging business environment to secure a sale.

"It ensures the future of the Carluccio's brand in the UK casual dining scene, retains a significant network of sites across the country and, critically, transfers a considerable number of jobs."

Satnam Leihal, managing director of BRG, said: "We welcome Carluccio's colleagues to BRG.

"This acquisition is in line with our strategy to grow our restaurant group with quality brands.

"Whilst it is an extremely challenging time for the sector, we believe quality hospitality businesses will recover in the long term as people return to eating out."

Outside of the administration process, BRG also acquired Carluccio's Dawson Street site in Dublin.

April saw record-breaking falls in retail sales as hundreds of thousands of businesses were forced to shut up shop to help tackle coronavirus.

The total volume of retail sales fell by 18.1% in April compared to the previous months, the Office or National Statistics (ONS) reported.

There had already been a drop of 5.2% compared to February.

Clothing sales were the hardest hit, falling by 50.2% compared to March, a month which had itself seen drops of 34.9% from February's figures.

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Sales from household goods stores fell 45.4%, on the back of an 8.7% drop from February to March.

Supermarkets also saw a fall of 2.8%, having seen sales increase 10.4% in March.
The results come in the same week Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned the UK is "likely to face a severe recession, the likes of which we haven't seen".

The only sectors making hay in the current in the current climate were non-store retailing, such as online only and catalogue businesses, and off licences.

Non-store retailing saw rises of 18%, while off licences saw sales increase by 2.3%.

The proportion spent online rose to 30.7% in April, the highest on record, up from 19.1% over the same month last year.

Almost all store types reached record proportions of online spending in April, the ONS said, as many retailers shifted to online trading only.

Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said: "The effects of Covid-19 have contributed to a record monthly fall in retail sales of nearly a fifth.

"Fuel and clothing sales fell significantly while spending on food also dropped after the surge from the panic buying seen last month.

"Off-licence sales, however, continued to increase.

"Online shopping has again surged as people purchased goods from their homes."

Dr Kerstin Braun, president of trade finance provider Stenn Group, predicted that the pandemic would change the retail landscape forever.

"A record number of people joined the unemployment ranks in April and some eight million are receiving 80% pay through the furlough programme, which has been extended until the end of October," she said.

"This is not an environment for free-wheeling consumer spending, as demonstrated in the record 18.1% decline of retail sales in April, following the 5.2% fall in March."

She added: "The pandemic has hastened structural changes to the retail sector that were in motion before the pandemic, in particular the increase in online shopping which has soared to the highest on record.

"Department stores, malls, and fast fashion were already in decline, giving way to online shopping and the less-is-more attitude of millennial shoppers."

Wetherspoons has unveiled its plans for reopening pubs across the UK including a reduced menu and temperature checks for staff.

The pub chain said it will invest £11m to ensure staff and customers are safe before reopening its pubs, which they say could happen 'in or around June'.

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Almost 900 pubs will open when the chain has the official go-ahead from the relevant governments, and will adopt appropriate social distancing measures.

These include installing protective screens at till points and in some seating areas where it is not possible to separate the tables appropriately.

In addition, the chain will provide gloves, masks and protective eyewear, which staff can elect whether to wear them or not.

There will be an average ten hand sanitiser dispensers around the pub, including at the entrance for customers and staff to use.

Customers will also be asked to use the Wetherspoon order and pay app, wherever possible, or pay at the bar using a credit/debit card and contactless, although cash will be accepted.

Menus will be affected, with pubs offering a slightly reduced selection as well as providing sachets of ketchup, mayonnaise and salt instead of the usual condiment bottles.

But while in-store procedures and menus are set to change, they have confirmed the opening hours will remain the same. These are, on average, 8am to midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and 8am to 1am on Friday and Saturday.

Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “At present the government have not confirmed any reopening date for pubs.

“However, it is important that we are prepared for any announcement.

“We have spent a number of weeks consulting with staff who work in our pubs, as well as area managers in order to draw up our plans.

“We have received more than 2,500 suggestions from our staff.

“The safety of our staff and customers is paramount.”