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Wilko nears mass store closures with thousands of jobs at stake

Wilko shop window sale sign

Most Wilko stores are set to close with thousands of job losses after an attempt to find a savior failed.

Wilko, a family-owned retailer specializing in household and garden products, operates nearly 400 stores and employs almost 12,500 people. 

Its financial struggles prompted the appointment of administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers earlier this month.

Read More: Fake Wilko Websites Warning After Shoppers Ripped Off With Made Up Offers

Administrators said yesterday (Wednesday, August 23) they had been unable to secure a buyer for the entire business.

They warned “likely that there will be redundancies and store closures in the future.”

employer

However, they said stores would continue operating now, with no immediate job cuts or closures.

They said: “Discussions continue with those interested in buying parts of the business.”

Read More: Wilko Bidders Given Deadline To Prepare Rescue Bids

Jane Steer, Zelf Hussain and Edward Williams, the joint administrators, said: “We know this will further add to the uncertainty felt by workers. 

“We will be supporting staff through this deeply unsettling time, working closely with the government, JobCentre plus, unions and large employers to maximise possibilities for a rapid return to work for employees in the event of redundancies.”

Andy Prendergast, the national secretary of the GMB union, expects the closure of most of Wilko's stores in the near future.

He said: “GMB will continue to support members through this process and will fight to ensure members are consulted as per the law and that you receive every penny you are entitled to. 

“We will fight to ensure Wilko bosses are held accountable for the simple reason our members deserve so much better.”

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Rivals set to snap up Wilko stores

Rivals like Poundland, Home Bargains, Primark, and B&M would acquire many of Wilko's stores. 

Landlords in certain locations may need to subdivide the retail space to attract new tenants.

Hilco, a restructuring firm that owns Homebase, holds a significant portion of Wilko's debt, secured against proceeds from the sale of the Wilko brand name.

Last year, facing financial pressure, Wilko borrowed £40 million from Hilco, made job cuts.

The company has restructured its leadership team, and sold a distribution center to raise capital. 

Moreover, supply disruptions and a loss of trade credit insurance further exacerbated its challenges.

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