Wilko on the brink of collapsing into administration 'in hours' as 400 shops and 12,000 jobs on the line

10 August 2023, 09:40 | Updated: 10 August 2023, 09:44

Wilko is on the brink of collapsing into administration
Wilko is on the brink of collapsing into administration. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Wilko is on the brink of falling into administration after hopes of a rescue deal faded.

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The discount store had been in talks with Gordon Brothers, the owner of Laura Ashley, but the chances of a funding deal were considered low.

It is negotiating with its landlords with the help of PricewaterhouseCoopers, but it is understood Wilko's board will appoint the financial services business as administrator today.

Wilko stopped processing online deliveries on Wednesday, with customers only able to access click and collect.

The chain, which has 400 outlets across the country, filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators, kickstarting a 10 day window to arrange a deal, on August 3.

Some 12,000 staff are affected by the prospect of a collapse into administration.

The firm previously said it is expected to enter insolvency after failing to secure a takeover to help the business with "mounting cash pressures".

Read more: Ailing high-street chain Wilko in 'rescue bid' talks with specialist investor Gordon Brothers

The chain, which was found in 1930, has spent weeks searching for a rescue deal.

Wilko chief executive Mark Jackson said last week: "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."