P&H is Britain’s largest delivered wholesaler, with 90,000 customers ranging from the nation’s largest supermarkets to small corner shops.
The Big Four group said the wholesaler had been “hit by challenging trading conditions in recent months” and was unsuccessful in its attempts to restructure the business.
Currently, P&H Group employs 3,400 people, but PwC said in a statement that it had “unfortunately been necessary to make 2,500 immediate redundancies at head office and the branch network”.
The company has ceased trading, but 450 employees have been retained to “assist the joint administrators in managing the activities of the business to an orderly closure”.
“The Palmer and Harvey name has been a trusted partner for retailers and suppliers for nearly 100 years. This is a devastating blow for everyone who has been involved in the business,” said joint administrator and PwC partner Matthew Callaghan.
“The administration team will focus on working with employees, clients and suppliers to facilitate a smooth and effective wind-down or transfer of operations over the next few weeks.”
Administrators are continuing to explore options of selling the wholesaler’s subsidiaries, which include P&H Direct Van Sales Limited, P&H Sweetdirect Limited and P&H Snacksdirect Limited.
Former employees and creditors affected by the company being placed into administration are being encouraged to claim redundancy or register as a creditor.