High street retailer Wilko on brink of collapse putting 12,000 jobs and 400 stores at risk

3 August 2023, 12:18 | Updated: 3 August 2023, 14:05

There are 400 Wilko stores in the UK
There are 400 Wilko stores in the UK. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

More than 12,000 jobs are at risk as Wilko revealed it is on the brink of collapse.

The boss of the homeware and hardware chain said it is expected to enter insolvency after failing to secure a takeover to help the business with "mounting cash pressures".

There are 400 stores in the UK that face being closed down after Wilko indicated it was at risk of insolvency proceedings.

The chain has spent several weeks searching for a rescue deal but has now given notice of intention to appoint administrators.

The company was founded in 1930.

Read more: Is Wilko closing down? Full list of shop closures

Wilko branch in Thornaby, England
Wilko branch in Thornaby, England. Picture: Alamy

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Wilko chief executive Mark 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.

"Unfortunately, with this in mind, today we're having to take the difficult decision to file a notice of intention.

"We'll continue to progress discussions with interested parties with the aim of completing a transaction which preserves the business and will encourage those interested parties we're in discussions with to move as fast as possible.

"We continue to believe that our robust turnaround plan, with significant re-stabilisation cost savings in progress, will deliver a profitable Wilko and maximise the significant opportunities that we know exist."

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It comes after Rishi Sunak insisted businesses were booming across the UK, as an LBC caller from his own constituency told him that four businesses had closed down last week.

Jo from Richmond in North Yorkshire - Mr Sunak's constituency - told the prime minister that four independent businesses had closed down in their area last week, and blamed Tory policies as the reason why they are struggling.

They were York House antiques, the Fleece Hotel, Cross View Tearooms and Ravensworth Nurseries, which has traded for 57 years.

Mr Sunak said he knew some of those businesses "personally" and said the fact they were closing was "sad".

But the prime minister hit back at Jo's claim that Tory policies are hurting businesses, insisting that one of the primary reasons people are struggling economically at the moment is high energy bills.

Official figures show insolvencies in England and Wales surged to their highest level for 14 years in the second quarter of 2023 as firms were hit by tighter consumer budgets and rising borrowing costs.

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