Food retail company AF Blakemore & Son has purchased 21 stores of UK-based sandwich and salad chain Philpotts as part of its business expansion plans.

Last month, Philpotts’ parent company Patisserie Valerie almost entered administration after alleged fraud tipped it close to collapse last month.

The acquisition is expected to secure the jobs of 210 Philpotts employees.

AF Blakemore chairman Peter Blakemore said: “It was important to reach an agreement that enabled us to keep the 21 Phillpotts stores open and secure the future of the 210 jobs for employees currently across the UK.

“Bringing Philpotts under AF Blakemore ownership enhances our current retail offer and is aligned with our strategic retail and food service plan.

“Bringing Philpotts under AF Blakemore ownership enhances our current retail offer and is aligned with our strategic retail and food service plan.”

“Our experience and knowledge of the food service and convenience sectors brings significant opportunities to develop the brand, whilst taking elements of the Philpotts offer into our wider business.”

Patisserie Valerie’s directors appointed the partners of professional service company KPMG to serve as administrators to the company and its various subsidiaries.

During the month, Patisserie chairman Luke Johnson also extended an unsecured, interest-free loan to offer January wages to all staff working in the business.

The acquisition has expanded AF Blakemore’s existing retail, wholesale and food business.

The deal follows the divestment of cash and carry division by AF Blakemore last year.