Wilko rescue deal collapses leaving thousands of high street jobs at risk

A rescue deal to keep 300 Wilko stores open has fallen through leaving more than 10,000 workers waiting to hear what will happen to their jobs.

HMV boss Doug Putman was poised to take on the shops but the music retailer walked away from the deal because of rising costs.

Shop workers are set to hear from administrators over the following days about what will happen to their jobs.

Doug 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.

“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.

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“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.”

Wilko announced in August the company has gone into administration putting at risk the jobs of some 12,500 workers.

Administrators at PwC previously confirmed some 1,016 people would be made redundant with 52 shops across the country to shut down.

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There have been a further 299 redundancies at the chain’s distribution centre in Worksop and Newport, and more than 260 redundancies at the support centre.

Retail chain B&M is set to take on 51 of Wilko’s 400 outlets in a deal worth £13million but B&M has not confirmed if any jobs wiill be saved as a result.

Wilko has struggled in recent years as many of its stores are in high street locations which have been hit by the shift to large retail parks.

The brand has also suffered with a trend of shoppers switching to rival bargain chains such as B&M, The Range and Home Bargains.

Poundland is also understood to be interested in buying up a number of Wilko outlets to expand its offering.

Several retailers have also made offers to take on the Wilko brand. Wilko is based in Worksop and was founded in 1930.

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