Wilko slips to huge loss as footfall collapses

Embattled Nottinghamshire retailer Wilko has slumped into the red after the pandemic continued to impact footfall across its stores.

Wilko made a loss of £36.8m for the year to January 29 – a huge swing in the wrong direction from a profit of £4.5m in 2021.

Sales were also down over the period – falling by £42m to £1.2bn.

Despite Wilko’s status as an “essential retailer” it says the third UK lockdown “significantly impacted” sales, with physical stores showing a 30% decrease in footfall.

The gloomy figures come in the midst of a particularly trying time for Wilko. Last month, the firm brought in advisors after a combination of “soaring inflation, shipment delays and store closures” impacted its bottom line.

In the middle of November, the firm announced a £48m sale and leaseback of its huge distribution centre in Worksop to delivery firm DHL as the first part of a series of “transformational efficiencies”.

A week later, Wilko was reported to be in talks over a £30m emergency loan to help it through the Christmas trading period, according to The Times.

Finally, on Tuesday (December 29), it was revealed that Alison Hands, Wilko’s MD, is set to leave the company to become CEO of Lincolnshire Co-op in April

Wilko currently has 402 stores and employs around 16,000 people.

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