A CHAIN of 59 convenience stores was last night bought out of administrative receivership, safeguarding 160 jobs.

The shops, which traded as Right Choice, have been sold to A&S, a new vehicle set up to make the purchase, for an undisclosed sum.

A&S is led by Andy Smallman, former operations and logistics director of Right Choice's owner Cellar 5, which went into administrative receivership last month.

Cellar 5 operates 400 off-licences, wine merchants and convenience stores, and yesterday's deal will see the bulk of the convenience stores sold.

The remaining outlets are still up for sale.

A&S has established strong links with the Spar Group and the stores will be converted to the Spar format, it was announced.

The stores are spread throughout the North-West and the North-East, with the main concentration around Liverpool, Manchester and Sunderland.

Les Ross of accountancy firm Grant Thornton, the administrative receivers of Cellar 5, said: "We have collectively put together a complex contract, in a difficult transactional market climate, which gives the management buyout team the opportunity to exploit the stores' established position in the rapidly growing convenience sector, whilst preserving jobs."