Around 12,000 jobs at risk as Wilko collapses into administration
Up to 12,000 jobs are at risk at high street chain Wilko which has officially gone into administration.
The chain runs more than 400 stores across the UK and told staff on Thursday it had hired administrators from PwC to oversee the process.
Mark Jackson, chief executive officer of Wilko, said it had ‘a significant level of interest’ and rescue offers but was ‘left with no choice but to take this unfortunate action’ after being unable to close a deal within time.
Mr Jackson said in a letter: ‘Over the past six months Wilko has been very open that we’ve been considering options to accelerate a turnaround plan given that we needed to make significant changes to the way we operate to restore confidence and stabilise our business.
‘We left no stone unturned when it came to preserving this incredible business but must concede that with regret, we’ve no choice but to take the difficult decision to enter into administration.
‘We’ve all fought hard to keep this incredible business intact but must concede that time has run out and now, we must do what’s best to preserve as many jobs as possible, for as long as is possible, by working with our appointed administrators.
‘While we can confirm we had a significant level of interest, including indicative offers that we believe would meet all our financial criteria to recapitalise the business, without the surety of being able to complete the deal within the necessary timeframe, and given the cash position, we’ve been left with no choice but to take this unfortunate action.’
Mr Jackson said the business had pressed ahead with a turnaround plan, including cost savings, which ‘would have delivered the most profitable Wilko ever recorded within 24 months’.
The GMB Union hit back and said the collapse was ‘entirely avoidable’.
National officer Nadine Houghton said: ‘GMB has been told time and time again how warnings were made that Wilko was in a prime position to capitalise on the growing bargain retailer market, but simply failed to grasp this opportunity.’
Wilko had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators last week after spending weeks searching for a rescue deal after securing a lifeline worth £40 million from Homebase owner Hilco in January.
The business which was founded in 1930, was given a 10-day window of protection from creditors.
Wilko stores had struggled to fill shelves in recent months after facing challenges with paying their suppliers, and plans to cut 400 jobs were announced in February.
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