BUTCHER'S chain Crawshaw has closed 35 stores and one factory after appointing administrators last week, resulting in 354 job losses.

Administrators are now seeking a buyer for the business in a bid to preserve the 261 remaining jobs.

The Bury store has been closed with nine redundancies.

There have been eight redundancies at Bolton and nine at the Blackburn stores, which have also shut.

The announcement follows the appointment of administrators to the group on Friday, after it failed to secure additional funding.

Administrators from EY said today that it has entered into discussions with interested parties with a view to agreeing a sale of the business in the coming weeks.

A rescue deal could safeguard the remaining 261 Crawshaw staff.

Just 19 stores remain open after 35 ceased to trade over the weekend, while a distribution centre in Astley has been closed. Another facility in Hellaby remains open.

The collapse of the company came after several years of financial losses.

According to its latest set of results for the six months to July 29, the group posted revenue of £21.6 million and a pre-tax loss of £1.7 million.

Food mogul Ranjit Boparan holds a near 30 per cent stake in the business and his 2 Sisters Food Group also supplies Crawshaw.

The "chicken king" ­— so-called because of 2 Sisters' large-scale involvement in the poultry trade ­— is also an adviser to the board.

Shares in the AIM-listed company were suspended last week as it issued a notice of its intention to appoint administrators.