Wilko collapses into administration with 12,000 jobs in serious doubt

Rescue talks to try and help save Nottinghamshire-headquartered retailer Wilko have collapsed.

PwC has been appointed administrator to the stricken firm, with 12,000 jobs across 400 stores in serious peril.

A statement from Mark Jackson, CEO of Wilko, said: “Over the past six months we’ve been open with all our stakeholders including our team members that we’ve been considering options to accelerate a turnaround plan given that we needed to make significant changes to the way we operate to restore confidence and stabilise our business.  We left no stone unturned when it came to preserving this incredible business but must concede that with regret, we’ve no choice but to take the difficult decision to enter into administration.

 “I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of the directors and the Wilkinson family to thank all of our customers and our hardworking team members across our stores, logistics and support centre who remained loyal to Wilko.  It’s been an honour to have worked alongside you all as we fought to realise and to maximise the significant opportunities that existed to re-establish a profitable Wilko.”

Yesterday, it emerged that Wilko had ceased home deliveries.

Wilko has been under threat of administration for months, but this was ramped up last Thursday when the company filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Earlier this week it was reported that Gordon Brothers, the owner of Laura Ashley, was mulling a takeover deal for Wilko, but hopes for this have now receded.

When Wilko filed its NOI last week, 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.”

East Midlands Chamber director of partnerships David Pearson said: “This is a very sad day for a great institution of the high street and our thoughts are with the 12,000 people whose livelihoods are affected.

“But like many retailers it has faced a multitude of structural challenges amid the transition to online shopping and cost pressures.

“Wilko’s enormous popularity with customers, which has been evident in many comments by the general public since last week’s news about its impending collapse, provides hope there is still an opportunity to save the company in some form.”

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “The 12,000 Wilko workers now facing potential redundancy will take little solace that with better management the situation that has befallen Wilko was, sadly, entirely avoidable.

“GMB has been told time and time again how warnings were made that Wilko was in a prime position to capitalise on the growing bargain retailer market, but simply failed to grasp this opportunity.

“Much needed cash was taken out of the business by the Wilkinson family even when it was struggling. GMB members have remained loyal and committed to Wilko, accepting pay cuts and cuts to terms and conditions to help the business stay afloat, yet, as late as last year £3m was taken from the business.

“All the while the technology to improve the Wilko home shopping offer was neglected, their place in the market lost and now 12,000 jobs are on the line.”