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Collapsed retailer Wilko will disappear from the high street by early October after a rescue deal for a large chunk of the discount chain fell through, putting more than 10,000 jobs at risk.
About 300 Wilko stores and its distribution centres will shut in the coming weeks, the GMB union said on Monday, adding there was “no prospect” of saving the outlets. Administrators PwC declined to comment.
The administrators had already sold 51 sites to discounter B&M for £13mn and announced 52 closures following Wilko’s collapse into administration in August.
The absence of a comprehensive rescue deal makes Wilko one of the biggest retail casualties in the UK since the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s retail empire and department store chain Debenhams, and more recently McColl’s, the corner shop chain that was subsequently bought by Morrisons. Like many high street chains, the retailer was hit by inflationary pressures and supply chain problems amid a cash crunch.
The GMB added: “Although separate bids may be made for leases of groups of sites, these deals will not secure jobs.”
It said it was “pushing” for any prospective new owners to retain as many Wilko staff as possible.
Locations for the next wave of closures will be announced on Tuesday, with a further update for the remaining 124 stores expected next week, the union said.
Employees will be asked to work two extra days after the stores have closed and some staff will also stay on at the distribution centres for up to 14 days as operations are wound down.
More to follow