B&M buys more than 50 stores from collapsed Wilko as HMV deal flounders

Discount retailer B&M has announced it will buy more than 50 stores from the collapsed Wilko chain, as talks over a bigger rescue deal hang in the balance.
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The retailer has said it will but a total of 51 existing Wilko outlets but has not yet revealed locations.

The news comes after another Wilko rescue deal from the owner of HMV, which was thought to be nearing completion, has reportedly hit a stumbling block.

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The deal by Doug Putman’s HMV is under threat as big suppliers have demanded Wilko debt is repaid before supply lines are opened to the retailer.

One of Wilko's Nottinghamshire storesOne of Wilko's Nottinghamshire stores
One of Wilko's Nottinghamshire stores

Wilko was founded in 1930 and by the 1990s became one of Britain's fastest-growing retailers.

But the discount chain has faced strong competition from rivals including B&M, Poundland and Home Bargains, as the high cost of living has pushed shoppers to seek out bargains.

Wilko's stores remain open for now as it seeks a buyer for a bigger chunk of the estate, but more than 12,500 jobs were put at risk by the collapse.

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B&M has not confirmed which Wilko shops it has bought, or how many posts could be saved as a result of the deal.

It will also not help the 269 people made redundant from the company’s Worksop-based contact centre on Monday, and the estimated 1,300 employers at Wilko’s distribution hubs – one in Worksop and the other in South Wales.

There are a total of 15 Wilko stores in Nottinghamshire, including Worksop, Retford, Mansfield, Ashfield, Kimberley, Hucknall and Bulwell, with B&M already having a strong presence in the majority of these locations.

Concerning the Putman bid, sources told national newspapers that the likes of Unilever and Procter & Gamble have also demanded upfront payment from Wilko to guarantee supply.

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Concerns were raised over the weekend that certain suppliers who had ceased shipping goods to Wilko stores might not be able to resume product shipments for another six weeks.

Putman’s potential rescue deal would save around 300 stores and approximately 8,000 jobs.