Wilko expected to close “majority of stores” within weeks
The majority of Wilko‘s stores are expected to close within weeks after a purchase of the failed discount retailer fell through.
The GMB union said it had been informed by the company’s administrators that “there is no longer any prospect that the majority of the business will be saved”.
The high street homewares retailer entered administration earlier this month after failing to secure a rescue deal. At the time, the company said it had been left with no other choice after leaving “no stone unturned” in its efforts to save the business. The move has put 12,000 jobs at risk
In a statement yesterday, PwC said: “Since our appointment as administrators of Wilko we have held extensive discussions with parties who expressed an interest in buying all or part of the business. While discussions continue with those interested in buying parts of the business, it’s clear that the nature of this interest is not focused on the whole group. Sadly, it is therefore likely that there will be redundancies and store closures in the future and it has today been necessary to update employee representatives.
“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.”
PwC said all stores will remain open in the immediate term with all staff continuing to be paid. It added: “Contrary to speculation, there are currently no plans to close any stores next week.”
According to Sky News, B&M, The Original Factory Shop and Poundland owner Pepco Group are all interested in acquiring some of Wilko’s store sites.
Andy Prendergast, GMB national secretary, said: “GMB Union 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.
“GMB will not forget the incompetence that has led to this collapse and will we not forget the dividends paid to the millionaires who gambled your jobs on their whims.”
Starting from a single hardware store in 1930, Wilko now has 400 shops across the UK.