The Range nears £5m acquisition of Wilko brand
The Range has confirmed it is acquiring the Wilko brand in a £5 million deal after a rescue deal collapsed.
The deal means The Range will own Wilko’s website and could choose to stock and sell some of its products.
However, this transaction does not stop the closure of 400 Wilko stores across British High Streets by early October.
This development is expected to cause substantial job losses for thousands of employees.
Wilko’s competitors had progressively snapped up different company segments when administrators struggled to find a buyer for the entire business.
Retail analyst Catherine Shuttleworth said buying the brand was a “smart move.”
She said: “The challenge with Wilko was never about the brand itself but about how the business was run.
“So buying the brand is potentially a really smart move for the Range if they can use it to their advantage across their estate either on line or in branding stores in particular geographies.”
If The Range can leverage the brand effectively, it could be a strategic asset for their online and brick-and-mortar stores, particularly in specific geographic locations.
Wilko, founded in 1930, has a longstanding presence on High Streets across the UK.
The retailer entered administration in August due to significant losses and financial crises.
Initially, Doug Putman, the billionaire owner of HMV, aimed to keep approximately 300 Wilko stores operational.
But his bid faltered, and no other buyers expressed interest in retaining the Wilko name for these outlets.
Recently, the Poundland owner agreed to assume the leases of approximately 71 Wilko stores, which will reopen under the Poundland brand.
Another competitor, B&M, has also sealed a £13 million deal to acquire 51 of Wilko’s stores.
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Despite these acquisitions, widespread redundancies remain likely for most of the 12,500 staff members at the family-owned Wilko business.
Currently, the retailer announced 1,016 redundancies at stores slated for closure.
Additionally, Wilko has slated 299 job cuts at its two distribution centers in Worksop and Newport, which will close in the coming week.
The company implemented over 260 job losses at its support center.