Just today it has been confirmed that The Range has agreed to buy the Wilko brand after Canadian entrepreneur, Doug Putman, owner of HMV's plan to save 300 of Wilko's 400 stores fell through earlier this week.
This new agreement with The Range means that it will own Wilko's website and choose to stock and sell some of its products via click-and-collect. However, they have not bought any of the Wilko stores, therefore, mass store closures across the UK will still be going ahead in early October as planned.
After news struck following the collapse of one of our favourite budget-friendly stores, Wilko, there has since been a lot of uncertainty looming for many. It's no secret that Wilko has long been a go-to for us at Ideal Home to find purse-friendly alternatives to stay up to date on the latest home decor trends. From all things homes, gardens, DIY, and more, Wilko has always been a top choice for us – so you can only imagine that we were disheartened to hear the news.
Is Wilko closing down?
According to The Guardian, the budget retailer had struggled amid the tough economic climate and last year borrowed £40 million from restructuring specialist, Hilco. It also cut jobs and made changes to its leadership team after falling into a cash loss.
Additionally, Wilko's sales had fallen as they couldn't fill their shelves after struggling to pay suppliers following the withdrawal of credit insurers covering the retailer, which prompted some suppliers to pause deliveries.
Given that Wilko has been serving the UK high street for over 90 years, we were aware that it would certainly be a loss to many of us who rely on it to secure great-value everyday products. However, as Wilko's CEO, Mark Jackson, has regretfully explained, 'We've been left with no choice but to take this action.'
Immediately following the difficult decision to file for a notice of administration, Wilko's CEO confirmed that they intended to 'continue to progress discussions with interested parties, with the aim to complete transactions that would help to preserve the business 'as fast as possible'.
Doug Putman, owner of HMV initially hoped to keep as many as 300 Wilko stores open, however, the deal fell through due to rising costs. The deal falling through means that by early October all of the remaining Wilko stores would shut, making over 12,500 people redundant.
In just the past weeks alone, B&M made an agreement to buy 51 Wilko stores for up to £13m and Poundland struck a deal to acquire up to 71 Wilko sites but these will likely not be under the Wilko name. This would, however, allow some jobs to be preserved. In fact, there's already been confirmation that some Wilko workers have been transferred following The Range's deal.
According to the BBC, Alex Simpkin, chief executive at The Range was said to be 'delighted to have bought the Wilko brand'. Jane Steer, one of the PwC administrators adds that the deal with The Range means 'the Wilko names lives on', albeit just online. Administrators expect online operations to restart in early October, likely when mass store closures will begin.
Commenting on B&M's deal with Wilko, Tania Clench, legal director in the restructuring and insolvency team at Cripps says, 'Anyone who takes on Wilko would need to invest time and cash in bringing the stores and the brand in line with what its rivals are offering – joining up the online and in-store operations, revamping the look of their stores whilst still safeguarding the shopping experience many look to have at Wilko.'
'Wilko's retail business proposition will need to be clear going forward if the business is to survive and it is clear that Wilko is a very much loved and valued brand by many up and down the country.'
We will continue to update you as the story develops.
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Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.
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