Wilko to close all 400 stores with 12,000 job losses
Wilko is set to close its entire network of over 400 stores, losing more than 12,000 jobs.
The company’s administrators, PwC, made the announcement after talks with potential buyers failed to secure a rescue deal for the struggling retailer.
Last week, PwC revealed plans to close 52 Wilko stores and terminate over 1,300 staff, including employees at the support centre and warehouses.
However, negotiations with prospective buyers continued until the recent decision to shutter all 408 stores by early October.
GMB’s national officer Nadine Houghton said: “Wilko was far more than a brand, a retailer or the products it sold, it was the thousands of loyal team members now facing an uncertain future.
“No worker caused the downfall of Wilko. But they will be the ones who will suffer.
“Wilko should have thrived in a bargain retail sector that is otherwise strong.”
Doug Putman, owner of HMV and Toys R Us in Canada, had proposed a potential lifeline for the company.
The deal sought to save around 200 Wilko stores and thousands of jobs.
However, this rescue deal fell apart due to challenges in quickly reducing central infrastructure costs to make the arrangement financially viable.
Discount retailer B&M has also struck a £13 million deal to acquire 51 branches.
However, it did not include provisions for saving staff jobs, as it only covered the physical store locations.
Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career
Talks between administrators and Poundland regarding approximately 100 stores remain ongoing.
But any agreement would come after the closure of Wilko stores and may not include the transfer of staff.
Meanwhile, The Range, another discount retailer, is exploring options related to the Wilko brand.
Wilko traces its roots back to 1930 when JK Wilkinson opened its first store in Leicester.
It had taken over locations left vacant by the closure of Woolworths in 2008.