Wilko: High street retailer ‘could be saved’ from closure by rival discount chains according to experts
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Wilko ‘could be saved’ by rival discount chains eyeing up the retailer’s high street stores, according to a retail expert. It comes after the bargain retailer collapsed into administration following failed rescue talks - with 12,000 jobs and 408 stores at risk.
While any rescue bid likely wouldn’t save all stores, sources say that Wilko rivals could be in line to snap up between 200 to 300 shops. The chain appointed administrators on Thursday (August 10), with all control of the business being passed over to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Currently, all 408 shops are continuing to trade as usual, though Wilko has now stopped processing all online deliveries, with shoppers limited to click and collect orders instead. Former Wilko boss Gordon Brown told the BBC that he believes a buyer will swoop in to save parts of the company, but "it will be different from Wilko as we know it, or used to know".
Retail analyst Richard Hyman told The Sun: "I’m not sure any of the string discounters would want the stores - they have generally avoided high streets to focus on retail parks, which are better locations for this kind of retailing.
"However, Wilko’s stock will be a major attraction. At retail prices, there will be between five and £600 million of stock and the opportunity to acquire it at a knock down price will attract some opportunists."
A buyer could save stores and the brand, or could just purchase the brick and mortar sites to use as their own. Any deal could also include no stores at all, instead buying up the stock or brand name.
Mr Hyman added that due to the size of the stores, which tend to be pretty big, changes would likely need to be made.
He said: "To have any chance, you’d need a radically edited product offer which by definition, needs much less space. Some stores will be well located in attractive catchments but many, I fear, are likely to be left on the shelf."
In a statement earlier this week, Wilko CEO Mark Jackson said: "We’ve all fought hard to keep this incredible business intact but must concede that time has run out and now, we must do what’s best to preserve as many jobs as possible, for as long as is possible, by working with our appointed administrators."