Scottish stores and jobs on line as high street giant Wilko plunges into administration
The chain, which runs more than 400 branches across the UK, mainly in high street locations, told staff that it has hired administrators from PwC to oversee the process after failing to secure a rescue deal. Nottinghamshire-headquartered Wilko has been trading since 1930 but has faced stiff competition in recent years from fast-growing rivals such as B&M, Home Bargains and Poundland, compounded by the recent cost-of-living crisis and rising costs.
Chief executive Mark Jackson said the company had received “a significant level of interest” but was “left with no choice but to take this unfortunate action” after being unable to close a rescue deal in time. If another company fails to buy any of the stores or parts of the business out of administration, Wilko risks becoming one of the highest-profile retail casualties since Debenhams and Topshop and Burton owner Arcadia. There are several large Scottish stores in the Wilko chain, including sites in Edinburgh, Falkirk and Livingston, employing scores of workers.
Jackson said: “We’ve all fought hard to keep this incredible business intact but must concede that time has run out and now we must do what’s best to preserve as many jobs as possible, for as long as is possible, by working with our appointed administrators.”
Zelf Hussain, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: “Many high street retailers are facing a number of well-documented challenges and Wilko has been significantly impacted by the headwinds facing the industry including inflationary pressure and rising interest rates. As administrators we will continue to engage with parties who may be interested in acquiring all or part of the business. Stores will continue to trade as normal for the time being and staff will continue to be paid.”
The retailer was founded as a hardware shop in Leicester in 1930, but quickly expanded across the UK, growing into other markets such as garden products and stationery. It launched a turnaround plan earlier this year after its sales and shopper footfall came under pressure as consumer budgets were hammered by the rising cost of living.
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