Empty shelves at the Wilko store in the Oaks Shopping Centre
September 21, 2023
There is still a lack of clarity on the future of the now vacated Wilko store in the Oaks Shopping Centre.
Customers said their final goodbyes to staff on Tuesday 12 September and it didn’t take long for the premises to be completely stripped bare.
The management of the shopping centre has not responded to our request for information about the likely future of the unit.
There is a possibility that the lease on the site is one of the 51 locations acquired by B&M Bargains which has a similar product profile to Wilko. The national chain has a branch nearby in Willesden.
If this is the case, it is speculated in the national press that the company will shortly start announcing which former Wilko branches it will be reopening under its brand. B&M Bargains did not respond when we asked them if it had acquired the Acton lease.
The departure of Wilko is a huge blow to the Oaks Shopping Centre which recently had been having more success filling vacant units with the arrival of KFC and the Acton Banking Hub. The Wilko unit is believed to be 16,000 square feet in size and far larger than the other units occupied recently.
A local commercial property agent said, “If B&M haven’t acquired the lease, then it might be a difficult unit to shift. It is quite large and stuck away in a corner with a Poundland next door as direct competition. It might be better to focus on the unlet units nearer the entrance which would tempt more people to enter.”
The Wilko store in West Ealing is to be converted into a Poundland but administrator PwC is indicating that any store not acquired by a third party will be shut by the end of October. Along with the 20 other stores in London, this could result in over 1,000 job losses in the capital.
Wilko was founded in 1930 and by the 1990s became one of Britain's fastest-growing retailers with many shoppers seeing as filling the gap left by the closure but fell into administration in August as it struggled with rising costs and a cash shortage. The discount chain has faced strong competition from competitors including B&M, Poundland and Home Bargains, as the high cost of living has pushed shoppers to seek out the lowest prices.
Before Wilko went into liquidation it employed 12,500 people in 400 stores across the country.
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