Wilko: All stores to close by early October and hundreds of Nottinghamshire jobs to go this week

Union bosses have confirmed there is now “no prospect” for saving thousands of jobs at North Nottinghamshire-based retailer Wilko after a proposed rescue bid fell through.
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Hundreds of stores at the high street giant – headquartered in Worksop – are to close by the start of October, and hundreds more local distribution jobs will go this week.

The GMB Union announced the news following confirmation from administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers today, September 11.

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It follows talks to rescue the retailer collapsing and means about 350 stores – including 15 in Nottinghamshire – as well as about 11,000 jobs nationwide will be lost within weeks.

Wilko's store in Sutton is to close, it was confirmed today. (Photo by: Brian Eyre/nationalworld.com)Wilko's store in Sutton is to close, it was confirmed today. (Photo by: Brian Eyre/nationalworld.com)
Wilko's store in Sutton is to close, it was confirmed today. (Photo by: Brian Eyre/nationalworld.com)

In a statement to members, the union said: “There is now no prospect of saving the remaining store estate in its entirety and all Wilko stores will close by early October.

“Distribution centres are to close on Friday, September 15.

“Although separate bids may be made for leases of groups of sites, these deals will not secure jobs, although the option to take up new employment with the bidders for these sites is something we are now pushing for.

“This is not the news our members or the GMB had been hoping for or working towards. We share the sorrow and anger of every Wilko team member today.”

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It said the second set of store closures will be confirmed by PwC tomorrow, September 12. These closures will take place between September 19-21 and will involve 124 stores.

Some staff will be asked to work two extra days after their stores have closed, as well as a “small number” of distribution staff in both Worksop and Newport to “assist with decommissioning” for up to 14 days, the union added.

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It follows confirmation of at least 520 Nottinghamshire jobs being lost last week at Wilko’s Worksop headquarters.

This included 220 distribution jobs, 286 support centre roles and 14 positions at Kin, a subsidiary firm of Wilko based at the Bassetlaw hub.

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Recruitment agencies say the Worksop distribution centre employs more than 1,800 people, meaning the site could lose more than 1,500 further jobs this week.

Wilko also has 15 stores across Nottinghamshire including in Bulwell, Giltbrook, Hucknall, Kimberley, Mansfield, Retford, Sutton and Worksop.

It is unclear whether any Nottinghamshire stores will be included in the next round of closures.

However, Bassetlaw Council has already pledged to offer support and guidance to workers impacted by closures at the headquarters.

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Redundancies were last week described as “really, really sad” for the town, with concerns the area could be significantly affected by Wilko’s collapse.

The company’s demise follows the fall of a rescue bid by HMV owner and Canada-based entrepreneur Doug Putman to save at least part of the retail group.

Mr Putman’s initial bid could have saved about 300 stores and between 8,000 and 9,000 jobs.

However, reports suggest this bid was later reduced to about 100 stores, before collapsing due to rising costs and administration.

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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.”

Last week, B&M stepped in and bought 51 high street Wilko stores, but did not save the jobs connected with them. The retail giant is instead expected to open B&M stores in these locations, although GMB says this may involve some support for former staff.