All Wilko stores 'to close by early October' after rescue deal fails

All 400 branches of Wilko will close by early October, the GMB union has said.

A rescue deal which could have revived 300 branches under HMV’s billionaire owner, Doug Putman, fell through on Monday.

Other firms are interested in taking over some of the outlets for different retailer brands but none are known to be interested in running them as Wilko stores.

GMB say it’s ‘likely’ that all 12,500 people employed by the retail chain will be made redundant.

PwC, who have been handling Wilko’s future after it collapsed into administration last month, has not yet commented on the latest developments.

It previously confirmed just over 1,000 redundancies at 52 branches that will close this week.

Hundreds of jobs have already been axed at Wilko’s support and distribution centres.

The Wilko family – who ran the firm until its problems ramped up – have been criticised for continuing to pay its owners millions in dividends even during periods of heavy losses.

Lisa Wilkinson, granddaughter of founder James Kempsey Wilkinson, insists the pay-outs ‘wouldn’t have made the difference’ and said managers threw ‘everything and everything again at trying to make Wilko a success’ again.

Mr Putman, a Canadian businessman, reportedly scaled down his initial buy-out plan from 300 to around 100 due to the rising costs of overhauling the business and keep it afloat in the meantime.

It’s thought these cost problems are what finally prompted him to walk away.

In a statement given to the BBC, he said: ‘It is with great disappointment that we can no longer continue in the purchase process for Wilko having worked with administrators and suppliers over several weeks to seek a viable way to rescue it as a going concern.

‘A stable foundation could not be secured to ensure long-term success for the business and its people in the way that we would have wanted.’

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