Wilko set to got the same way as Woolworths
September 13, 2023
Lingering hopes of the remaining local Wilko stores getting a reprieve have largely disappeared.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), the administrators of the stricken hardware retailer, has announced that it has been unable to find a buyer for most of the outlets.
In a deal with PepCo, the owner of Poundland, the leases of 71 stores have been acquired including the West Ealing branch on The Broadway. Poundland has confirmed that the stores are to be converted to its brand with many of the existing staff being rehired.
Closures of stores, including the ones in Acton in the Oaks Shopping Centre and the Putney Exchange branch, began this Tuesday (12 September) and the Hammersmith store in the Livat shopping centre will shut on Thursday.
We haven’t been able to confirm whether the early closure of these branches is due to them being among those acquired by B&M Bargains which has taken over the leases at 51 Wilko locations. It is likely that these stores would reopen under the B&M brand which is a similar concept to Wilko. We have contacted B&M and await a response.
If B&M has acquired the leases of local stores, the deal is expected to be completed next month.
A local commercial property agent said, “It could be that the local stores are to be rebranded although it may be significant that the closing branches are in shopping centres. The landlords may have been keen to clear the unit quickly to get a new tenant in and been unwilling to offer a deal on rents to the administrators.”
Closing dates for other branches in west and south west London such as Fulham and Wimbledon have not been announced but 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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