Sorting by


Wilko promises to suspend job losses as administrators consider ‘multiple’ bids to save retailer

Wilko has suspended any potential redundancies as administrators consider a fresh batch of rescue bids for the beleaguered high street retailer, a union representing its staff has claimed.

The GMB union, which represents 3,000 of Wilko’s 12,500 staff, said it had assurances from administrators, with whom it had met on Tuesday.

Wilko went into administration earlier this month after it struggled to pay suppliers, putting the future of its 400 stores across the UK into doubt.

Administrators from PwC have sought offers from interested firms in an effort to save jobs and stores.

Last week, GMB revealed that the majority of Wilko staff appeared set to lose their jobs, some as soon as next week, after a major bidder dropped out. Some shops are still expected to be saved by smaller bidders, but it now appears that the most likely scenario involves most of Wilko’s 400 shops closing.

On Tuesday, GMB said it had discussed a number of potential bids to save the stricken high street chain with the insolvency experts.

“Since this announcement, we have been contacted by a number of potential bidders for the business,” GMB’s national secretary Andy Prendergast said.

“Of these, several appear to have the necessary funding and the willingness to invest and safeguard our members jobs.

“Needless to say, such bids not only have the potential to ensure that our members can carry on in employment, they also provide welcome relief for the high street as well as significantly lowering the degree to which the state would need to step in to provide redundancy and notice pay via the insolvency service.

“Unfortunately, we are concerned that prior to our involvement, several of these bidders have reported difficulties engaging the appointed administrators.”

It comes after reports of fresh last-minute attempts to potentially buy the retailer. Australian discount retailer Kmart has held talks with Wilko over a potential rescue deal, according to The Telegraph, while another bid worth £90m has been made by restructuring specialist M2 Capital, the Guardian reported, which could potentially keep the entire Wilko chain trading.

Those bids came after Canadian businessman Doug Putman, who bought music retailer HMV in 2019, also lodged a bid intended to preserve the majority of Wilko’s stores.

Rivals Poundland, B&M, The Range and Home Bargains also reportedly lodged their interest in buying parts of the Wilko business.

Wilko was founded as Wilkinson Cash Stores by James Kemsey Wilkinson in 1930 in Leicester. It remains under the private ownership of the family.

Mr Wilkinson’s son, Tony Wilkinson, joined the company in 1960 and took over as chairman in 1972, before he was succeeded by his daughter, Lisa Wilkinson, and his niece, Karin Swann. Ms Swann sold her family’s 50 per cent holding in the company to Ms Wilkinson in 2014. Ms Wilkinson remains the company’s director.

The company changed its name to Wilkinson Hardware Stores in 1941, before rebranding as Wilko in 2014.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button