Wilko ‘could be saved’ from closure by rival discount chains that are eyeing up 300 stores, a recent report has stated after the bargain retailer collapsed into administration last week following failed rescue talks.
Wilko rivals could be in line to snap up between 200 to 300 shops as two discount chains and financial backers are said to have expressed interest in buying the business, The Sun stated.
The chain appointed administrators recently, with all control of the business being passed over to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). It had been in a race to find a new owner after filing a notice of intent to appoint administrators last week.
Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers has asked interested parties to submit initial offers for the discount retailer by Wednesday (16). The family-owned chain, which was established by the Wilkinson family in 1930, had been working with PwC on a search for new investment for several months.
Currently, all 400 shops are continuing to trade as usual but fears have been growing over the future of the chain, as well as 12,000 jobs which are also at risk. Although the Wilko has now stopped processing all online deliveries and shoppers are 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 it”.
Most of Wilko’s stores are located on the high street, where shoppers tend to buy less and rents are higher, reportedly making them less appealing to any potential buyer. According to Kantar’s grocery market report released today (15), Wilko is a popular choice for many shoppers with “7.6 million households visiting its stores to buy groceries in the last year and grocery items make up just under half of its sales”.
Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira said the collapse of such a well-established retailer could have significant implications for the high street, and the retail industry as a whole.
“Wilkinson’s has been a fixture on the high street for years, providing customers with a range of products essential for daily life. Its plight serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by traditional retailers in an ever-evolving market environment. The repercussions of its collapse extend beyond the company itself, impacting suppliers, employees, and the vitality of the high street,” he said.