All 400 Wilko stores will close for good as rescue deal for troubled chain falls through with 12,500 jobs in peril, union says
All 400 Wilko stores will close for good as a rescue deal for the troubled chain falls through with 12,500 jobs in peril, union bosses have said.
It’s thought that mass staff redundancies are now likely with all UK stores due to close by early October according to the GMB union.
The chain has been the focus of a last-ditch attempt by the owner of HMV to strike a rescue deal however this failed.
Administrators for the high street chain had been in discussions with Doug Putman, of Putman Investments, over a deal to buy around 200 Wilko shops.
Mr Putman, founder of Putman Investments, said: ‘It is with great disappointment that we can no longer continue in the purchase process for Wilko having worked with administrators and suppliers over several weeks to seek a viable way to rescue it as a going concern.
A Wilko store in Cardiff is pictured yesterday with closing down signs posted on the windows
A Wilko rescue deal proposed by HMV owner Doug Putman (pictured in a store) has collapsed
Empty shelves in a Wilko store on Queen Street in Cardiff yesterday which will shut this week
‘We had financing in place and received the full support of PwC, Wilko management and staff representatives, which we are deeply thankful for considering what a challenging time it has been for them.
Which Wilko stores will close this week?
Administrators for Wilko have revealed the locations of 52 stores which will close this week.
The following Wilko shops will close tomorrow (Tuesday):
- Acton, London
- Aldershot, Hampshire
- Barking, London
- Bishop Auckland, County Durham
- Bletchley, Milton Keynes
- Brownhills, Walsall
- Camberley, Surrey
- Cardiff Bay Retail Park
- Falmouth, Cornwall
- Harpurhey, Manchester
- Irvine, North Ayrshire
- Liverpool Edge Lane
- Llandudno, Wales
- Lowestoft, Suffolk
- Morley, Leeds
- Nelson, Lancashire
- Port Talbot, Wales
- Putney, London
- Stafford, Staffordshire
- Tunbridge Wells, Kent
- Wakefield, 121 Kirkgate
- Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
- Westwood Cross Retail Park, Kent
- Winsford, Cheshire
The following Wilko shops will close on Thursday:
- Ashford, Kent
- Avonmeads, Bristol
- Banbury, Oxfordshire
- Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
- Basildon, Essex
- Belle Vale, Liverpool
- Burnley, Lancashire
- Clydebank, Glasgow
- Cortonwood, Barnsley
- Dagenham, Essex
- Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
- Eccles, Greater Manchester
- Folkestone, Kent
- Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
- Hammersmith, London
- Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
- Morriston, Swansea
- New Malden, South-west London
- North Shields, Tyne and Wear
- Queen Street, Cardiff
- Rhyl, Wales
- Southampton West Quay
- St Austell, Cornwall
- Stockport, Greater Manchester
- Truro, Cornwall
- Uttoxeter, Staffordshire
- Woking, Surrey
‘However, commitment to overhauling the trading framework of the business with partners and the costs of running Wilko’s legacy operations infrastructure combined has meant that a stable foundation could not be secured to ensure long-term success for the business and its people in the way that we would have wanted.’
The GMB Union has said that the hopes of a deal which could have saved hundreds of stores and thousands of jobs have collapsed.
‘We are incredibly sorry to have to share the devastating news that (administrators) PwC have confirmed the previous offer being explored for the sale of hundreds of stores as a going concern has fallen through,’ the union said.
‘There is now no prospect of saving the remaining store estate in its entirety and all Wilko stores will close by early October with DCs (distribution centres) to close on Friday September 15.’
It added: ‘Although separate bids may be made for leases of groups of sites, these deals will not secure jobs, although the option to take up new employment with the bidders for these sites is something we are now pushing for.
‘This is not the news our members or the GMB had been hoping for or working towards.
‘We share the sorrow and anger of every Wilko team member today.’
Sky News has reported that administrators from PwC are now in talks with Poundland over a potential deal to offload about 100 stores.
Other high street chains including The Range and Home Bargains have also reportedly signalled their interest over potentially buying the Wilko brand or stores.
Wilko, which employed around 12,500 staff, has already announced a £13 million deal to sell 51 shops to B&M, although the rival discounter has not agreed to take on Wilko workers as part of the deal.
Administrators have already announced more than 1,600 redundancies at Wilko in recent weeks.
This week the retailer will shut 52 shops in a move which will lead to 1,016 redundancies.
It said 24 of its shops will close on Tuesday September 12, with a further 28 shops due to shut on Thursday September 14.
PwC has also announced hundreds of redundancies affecting workers at the firm’s warehouses in Worksop and Newport, as well as cuts at its support centre.
The 90-year-old retail chain tumbled into administration early last month after it came under pressure from weak consumer spending and debts to suppliers.
Nadine Houghton, national officer for the GMB union, said: ‘Due to the incompetency of Wilko bosses the deal has now run out of time.
‘If the owners had been transparent and honest, thousands of loyal Wilko workers may not now be in this awful position.
‘This is another devastating blow for them, who have seen their lives and futures gambled on the whims of millionaires and billionaires.
‘Wilko bosses should be ashamed that this once great family business now appears to be beyond saving.’
Both of Wilko’s warehouses, called distribution centres (DCs) will close this Friday. A second round of store closures will be announced on Tuesday, it said. These 124 sites will close between September 19 and September 21.
GMB said: ‘Staff will be asked to work two extra days after the store have closed. Likewise, a small number will be required to stay on at the DCs for up to 14 days to assist with the decommissioning.’
Wilko’s shelves have looked increasingly bare since the news of their collapse was announced last month
Shops are expected to close within weeks with thousands of job losses
It’s thought that all Wilko stores will close by early October with the loss of jobs
Wilko was founded by JK Wilkinson in 1930 with a single shop in Leicester.
It outlasted the demise of rival Woolworths after the financial crisis in 2008.
But its leadership and owners have been criticised after £77million was handed to former shareholders in the past decade – first reported by the Mail on Sunday – including during years when the firm made a loss.
Wilko announced its collapse on August 10 blaming stubbornly high inflation and interest rates affecting businesses and consumers.
It also emerged last week that Aldi is eyeing up former Wilko stores and could hire workers from the chain.
Aldi has said it wants to open 500 more shops in the UK after marking the opening of its 1,000th store in Surrey as part of its expansion plans.
Its UK and Ireland chief executive Giles Hurley said it could use former Wilko stores for new sites sites.
Asked whether Also is looking at ex-Wilko stores, its UK and Ireland chief executive Giles Hurley told the Daily Mirror last week: ‘Clearly, with an ambitious target of 1,500 stores, we will look at all the opportunities. It comes down to the availability and suitability.’
Aldi has called for staff affected by the collapse of Wilko to get in touch because it has about 6,000 jobs currently available.
Mr De Mello said: ‘One potential retailer, in addition to Poundland, that could potentially acquire some Wilko stores is Aldi.
‘With their ambitious plan to expand their 990 strong store portfolio to 1,500 in the next few years, they need to leave no stone unturned in their location search, and a number of Wilko stores will likely fit the bill, in terms of size, accessibility and market potential.
‘Aldi have also thrown a lifeline to Wilko staff, encouraging them to apply for some of the circa 6,000 current job vacancies they have.’
Source: Read Full Article