Wilko's store at Fulham Broadway. Picture: Google Streetview
August 7, 2023
It’s not necessarily ‘Wilko, over and out’ for local branches of the hardware chain as none of them are on a list of 14 stores to close after the company announced that it is to appoint administrators.
Outlets at Acton, Fulham, Hammersmith, Putney, West Ealing and Wimbledon look set to continue to trade as the insolvent company seeks to find buyers for the business.
There are 400 stores across the country, 27 of which are in London and only the Woolwich branch is marked for closure in the capital.
The discount store was the largest privately owned retailer in the UK and many local customers reacted with dismay at the store expressing concern for popular members of staff at their local branch. However, it had already been noted by many that the shelves had been increasingly empty which seems to have been indicative of cashflow problems.
The survival of the remaining branches is dependent on a new owner being found who is prepared to invest a significant amount of new capital in the business. Industry experts believe that it could require up to £70 million to ensure the financial security of the chain going forward and avoid a total collapse.
Wilko’s chief executive Mark Jackson said: “While we can confirm we’ve had a significant level of interest, including indicative offers that we believe would meet all our financial criteria to recapitalise the business, at present we don’t today have an offer that provides the necessary liquidity in the time we have available, given the mounting cash pressures we’re faced with.
“We continue to believe that our robust turnaround plan, with significant re-stabilisation cost savings in progress, will deliver a profitable Wilko and maximise the significant opportunities that we know exist.”
The chain is being advised by PwC.
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