Wilko to close 52 stores within DAYS and slash 1,332 jobs | The Sun

WILKO is set to shut 52 stores and slash 1,332 jobs in the coming days administrators for the collapsed retailer have confirmed.

But there's still hope that a deal can be reached to save hundreds of remaining shops from closure.

Two dozen Wilko branches are set to shut their doors for the final time on September 12.

A further 28 shops will be close down two days later, resulting in 1,016 redundancies.

It's understood that workers will be informed of the news by 10am tomorrow.

So far it has not been revealed which of Wilkos 400 stores are affected.


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Also among the job losses are 229 roles at the company's two warehouses in Worksop and Newark.

There will be another 17 redundancies among the company’s digital team at its support centre.

Workers employed at the distribution centres, redundancy will be effective from close of business on Thursday.

It comes after B&M agreed today to buy up to 51 locations in a £13million deal.

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There's still hope that more of the remaining stores could be saved, along with thousands of jobs.

Administrators at PwC are "actively working with potential buyers" and "exploring all interest in the reminder of the business".

The closures and job cuts come after there was no interest from any potential buyers in those specific stores.

Edward Williams, joint administrator, said: “In the absence of viable offers for the whole business, very sadly store closures and redundancies of team members from those stores are now necessary, in addition to the already announced redundancies at the support centre and distribution centres.

"We know this has been a deeply unsettling time for everyone concerned and would like to express our gratitude to all wilko team members for the dedication and support they have continued to give the business in the most trying of circumstances.”

According to GMB union, one bidder has made an offer for a "significant part" of business.

The union added: "Whilst there remains a possibility that this fails to deliver, we are working extremely hard and doing everything we can to help it over the line."

GMB has indicated that workers at the 51 shops that B&M acquired won't automatically transfer to the new owner as the deal is only for stores, which are expected to be re branded as B&M.

GMB said it is also enquiring about the possibility of current staff being given "preferential treatment" in applying for any jobs that may come up – although this hasn't yet been confirmed.

The full list of Wilko stores which have been bought by B&M is yet to be revealed.

The discount chain said more information on the new store openings will be issued alongside its half-year financial results on November 9.

The Sun previously revealed that weekend negotiations between Canadian entrepreneur Doug Putman, who was eyeing up 300 stores, had run into issues.

Big brands, including Unilever and Procter & Gamble who supply items such as Domestos Bleach and Ariel detergent to shops, demanded their debts are repaid and paid upfront to guarantee supply to stores.

Concerns had been raised after some suppliers cancelled shipments to Wilko stores due to fears over its future.

It could mean the possibility of empty shop shelves, even if the shops do stay open.

On Monday, the first wave of job cuts took place, with a total of 269 support centre team member roles being axed in its Worksop site.

A further 14 jobs at Kin Limited, a subsidiary of Wilko, have also been cut after it too fell into administration.

Insiders previously expressed frustration that a rescue of Wilko had been delayed by the eleventh-hour intervention by M2 Capital, which has since been accused of time-wasting.

Last week The Sun exclusively reported that the only bid for the whole of the business, from the firm, had fallen through.

Administrators had given the firm a strict deadline to provide evidence that it has proof of funds to complete the full rescue of Wilko.

PwC then refused to grant M2 extra time after grave doubts about its credibility.

It marked the second time a deadline for Wilko buyers had passed, three weeks after the retailer went bust.

The Sun previously reported that several potential buyers had shown an interest in Wilko's business.

Discount stores including Poundland and The Range had made bids, according to sources.

Poundland's owner, Pepco Group, was said to be looking at taking on 100 Wilko stores, according to Sky News.

Originally, a deadline for indicative bids was set for August 16, six days after the company went bust.

Wilko collapsed into administration back in August after failing to find new backing for the business.

Shoppers took to social media to share their emotional tributes to Wilko when it first entered administration, with many comparing it to the loss of Woolworths.

Others were also looking forward to extra bargains ahead of Wilko launching an administration sale which has seen discounts of up to 50% on a range of items.

Chief executive officer, Mark Jackson, said that the company had "left no stone unturned" in a bid to save the chain.

In an emotional open letter to all staff and heartbroken shoppers, Mr Jackson thanked them for their support.

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Founded by James Kemsey Wilkinson in 1930, the company’s first store opened on Charnwood Street under the Wilkinson Cash Stores brand.

In a heartfelt interview, Lisa Wilkinson, granddaughter of the chain's founder, said that everybody put their "soul and heart" into saving the chain.

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