The Range has agreed a deal worth about £5million to buy the Wilko brand following talks with the collapsed retailer’s administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The move, which will be announced by PwC later today, likely means that the brand will not disappear from the high street but instead be seen in The Range’s stores.
It is the latest rapid development following the collapse of the chain, and comes after Poundland owner Pepco yesterday agreed to buy up to 71 Wilko stores.
Yesterday was the final day of trading for 24 Wilko stores, in the first phase of the chain’s mass closures. A further 28 shops will shut after trading tomorrow.
These closures will result in 1,016 redundancies, while administrators have also said hundreds of other job cuts will impact warehouse and support centre staff.
A shopper walks past a Wilko store in Putney, South West London, yesterday. It has since shut
The Range has agreed a deal worth about £5million to buy the Wilko brand (file picture)
A further 124 shops will shut for good next week as the process continues, with the final 222 stores all due to close by early next month.
PwC said the firm’s warehouse will shut this Friday, with final support centre workers leaving in early October as operations completely unwind.
News of The Range’s deal was first reported by Sky News City editor Mark Kleinman, who posted on X today: ‘The Range, the value retailer, has struck a deal worth about £5m with the administrators to Wilko to acquire its collapsed rival’s brand.
‘I understand an announcement will be made by PricewaterhouseCoopers later today. More soon.’
Yesterday, PwC said Pepco had sealed a deal which will see the stores reopened under the Poundland brand.
Workers at the stores will not be transferred directly as part of the move, but Poundland has said it will ‘prioritise’ existing Wilko workers for roles when the shops are opened under the new brand.
A graphic shows Wilko stores that closed yesterday (in red) or will do so tomorrow (in yellow)
The shutters close on the final day of trading at the Wilko in Barking, East London, yesterday
Poundland said its new lease agreements are set to be completed in ‘early autumn’, and it aims to open the stores by the end of 2023.
Family-owned Wilko employed 12,500 staff and ran 400 shops before it hired administrators early last month after it came under pressure from weak consumer spending and debts to suppliers.
But administrators have confirmed all Wilko’s remaining shop, warehouse and support centre workers are set to lose their jobs after failing to secure a rescue deal.
Administrators had previously struck a deal for fellow discount chain B&M to buy 51 other Wilko stores.
PwC said around 3,200 Wilko staff currently work across the sites acquired by B&M and Pepco.
At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Rishi Sunak has pledged full support for those impacted by Wilko’s collapse and its resulting lay-offs.
His comments were in response to Tory former minister Brendan Clarke-Smith, who urged the Government to safeguard redundancies and pensions, and hold the company’s ownership accountable for the chain’s demise.
Poundland owner Pepco yesterday agreed to buy up to 71 Wilko stores (file image)
Discount chain B&M (file image) has now agreed to buy up to 51 Wilko outlets across the UK
Mr Clarke-Smith said: ‘This week we were hit by the devastating news that all Wilko stores would be closing, meaning the loss of 12,500 jobs.
‘Bassetlaw and Worksop are the home of Wilko’s HQ and a distribution centre, with 1,500 jobs set to go.’
After arguing that ‘Wilko has been mismanaged for years’, he added: ‘Can the Prime Minister reassure my constituents and all those nationally affected by the demise of Wilko that he and the Government will do everything in their power to help support people into jobs and make sure their redundancies and pensions are protected, and that we will take whatever action is available to us to hold the ownership to account?’
The PM replied: ‘As he knows, some of the topics that he raised will be commercial matters for the company.
‘I do know that this is a concerning time for workers at Wilko. The Business Secretary is keeping close to developments and we have already started supporting those who have been made redundant, and we stand ready to support others to the fullest of our abilities.’