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All Wilko shops to close with 9,100 job losses

All Wilko shops to close with 9,100 job losses

Another 9,100 people who work for failed retailer Wilko will be made redundant, administrators confirmed on Monday after talks to save hundreds of shops fell apart.

Administrators at PwC said that the rest of Wilko’s shops would close by early October, with staff there losing their jobs.

The company’s two warehouses will also close and most of the activities at its support centre will cease, PwC said.

It said that “extensive efforts” had failed to produce a deal which would save any “significant part” of the Wilko operations.

Staff at 124 stores were on Monday informed that those sites will close on or before Thursday September 21.

The dates when the remaining 222 shops will close will be announced later, PwC said.

Most of the 886 remaining warehouse staff will be made redundant on Friday, while there will be further redundancies among the remaining 210 support centre employees until the early part of next month.

Earlier in the day the GMB union said that all 400 remaining Wilko stores were set to close after talks with HMV owner Doug Putman failed to produce a deal.

Mr Putman had been speaking to the administrators over a deal which could see him take over about 200 shops. But it appeared that no agreement could be reached.

Zelf Hussain, joint administrator at PwC, said: “Despite the significant and intensive efforts of both ourselves and Putman Investments – the remaining party interested in buying a significant part of the business as a going concern – a transaction could not be progressed due to the inability to reduce central infrastructure costs quickly enough to make a deal commercially viable.

“As with those who have already been given notice of redundancy, we will guide and support those team members impacted over the coming weeks through the redundancy claims process.

“We continue to work with potential buyers for different parts of the business and are confident of completing transactions in the coming days.”

GMB had warned earlier on Monday that “redundancy is now likely for all 12,500 workers” at the retailers.

Although other companies are still in the running to take over some of Wilko’s shops, GMB said that these were only interested in the property, and any deals would not include workers.

PwC had already agreed a roughly £13 million deal to sell up to 51 Wilko stores to rival B&M.

Fellow discount retailer Poundland is still in talks with PwC in an attempt to snap up about 100 shops, according to Sky News.

Other high street chains including The Range and Home Bargains have also reportedly signalled their interest over potentially buying the Wilko brand or stores.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said ahead of the PwC announcement: “This isn’t a tragedy without cause. Wilko should have thrived in a bargain retail sector that is otherwise strong, but it was run into the ground by the business owners.

This is heartbreaking news for staff and their families who have been holding out hope of a deal that would protect their jobs

Jonathan Reynolds, shadow business secretary

“Money was siphoned out of the business for dividends, warnings about what needed to be done to save the business were not heeded and advice around what the business had to do to thrive was not listened to.

“No worker caused the downfall of Wilko. But they will be the ones who will suffer – all as the owners get off scot-free.

“GMB will not stop campaigning for the owners of this debacle to be held to account.”

Wilko entered administration early last month after it came under pressure from weak consumer spending and debts to suppliers.

Labour’s shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “This is heartbreaking news for staff and their families who have been holding out hope of a deal that would protect their jobs.

“Sadly, shuttered-up shops have become the norm under the Conservatives who have weakened the foundations of our economy with local high streets paying the price.”