Another 1,300 job losses at Wilko confirmed despite B&M deal


Another 1,332 redundancies at collapsed retailer Wilko have been confirmed despite a deal to snap up more than 50 branches, the GMB union has said.

It comes after administrators PwC offloaded 51 of the chain’s 400 stores to budget retailer B&M.

The job cuts are in addition to the loss of 269 roles at the chain’s support centre in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, along with 14 roles at Wilko subsidiary Kin Limited, which were announced last week.

The GMB said 1,016 redundancies would now take place in 52 stores, along with 299 at two distribution centres and 17 at its digital operations department.

It added that 24 branches will close on Tuesday 12 September, while the remaining 28 will be closed two days later.

The location of the affected stores concerned will be publicly revealed on Wednesday.

Sky News earlier reported on the expected announcement of the B&M deal, with City editor Mark Kleinman adding that hopes were fading for a wider rescue deal that would take in the vast majority of the chain’s stores and 12,500 employees.

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It was understood that HMV’s owner Doug Putman was now targeting around 200 sites following talks with Wilko’s suppliers, instead of the 300 for which he had initially arranged financing.

Negotiations with Wilko’s joint administrators at PwC are continuing

“The chances of a deal to avert mass redundancies now looks increasingly unlikely”, Kleinman warned.

He said of the B&M announcement: “That deal wouldn’t have been struck by PwC if the broader rescue deal with Doug Putman was on track and, as I understand it, that deal now looks like it’s being radically re-shaped.”

B&M European Value Retail’s statement to the stock market said it had paid £13m for the 51 sites.

It did not reveal the locations.

While the company earlier neglected to say if any staff would be kept on, its statement did reveal hope that the sites were set to be relaunched, under its brand, within weeks.

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Aug: HMV close to rescue deal for Wilko

“The consideration is fully funded from existing cash reserves and the acquisition is not expected to be conditional on any regulatory clearances,” B&M said.

“An update on the timing of these new store openings will be provided in the… interim results announcement on 9 November 2023.”

The administrators have spent weeks in negotiations with multiple parties about a store carve-up.

The chain, which was established by the Wilkinson family in 1930, collapsed last month following a failure to find new investment.

Like many high street retailers, it had been hit by inflationary pressures and supply chain challenges.