The Range steps in to buy Wilko brand in £5m deal

Value retail chain The Range  is set to take control of the Wilko name after agreeing a £5m deal.

Reports by Sky News suggested that the Plymouth company had bought the Wilko brand from administrators PwC in a deal worth around £5m.

The news was confirmed this morning by the administrators.

A statement said: “The Joint Administrators can announce that they have entered into an agreement for The Range to acquire the Wilko brand, website and intellectual property. After a short period of transition, we expect online operations to recommence as the administration store trading programme concludes in early October.”

As part of the deal, 36 employees from wilko’s digital team have transferred over to The Range.

Jane Steer, joint administrator, added: “Since our appointment, the feedback from customers and wider stakeholders during this challenging period has reinforced the fact that Wilko remains a much loved and trusted brand within the UK. This sale to The Range will ensure that the Wilko name lives on under their ownership and we wish The Range every success.”

The deal follows Poundland owner PepCo lining up a deal to buy 71 Wilko stores when they close over the next week, and B&M snapping up 51 in a similar deal.

Around 10,000 people look set to lose their jobs at Wilko as a deal to find a buyer for the majority of the business failed earlier this week when HMV owner Doug Putman ended discussions with PwC.

Privately owned Wilko employed 12,500 staff and ran 400 shops before it called in the administrators early last month after it came under pressure from weak consumer spending and debts to suppliers.

The administrators have now confirmed all Wilko’s remaining shop, warehouse and support centre workers are set to lose their jobs after failing to secure a rescue deal.

The Range was founded by Chris Dawson and is now one of the largest home retailers in the UK.

Chris Dawson is one of the wealthiest people in the South West and his personal fortune is thought to be more than £2bn.

Dawson has a history of stepping in after rival firms have found themselves in trouble.

n 2009 he purchased stock worth £98m from MFI and bankrupt electrical retailer Empire Direct. The MFI stock was worth £68m but Mr Dawson bought it from administrators for less than £3m.

He also bought assets and stock from the collapse of Focus DIY and TJ Hughes and took over some of the vacant stores.

The Range operates over 200 stores and has more than  2,000,000 sq ft of distribution space, mostly at their facilities in Avonmouth and Thorne in Doncaster.

The Avonmouth distribution centre has an area of over 1,250,000 sq ft and is the largest single footprint warehouse in the UK.