Major high street retailer ‘makes last-minute bid’ to save half of Wilko stores and thousands of jobs

A MAJOR high-street retailer has “made a last-minute bid” to rescue half of Wilko’s stores and thousands of staff.

HMV’s billionaire owner is understood to have made an attempt to save parts of the stricken retailer’s business.

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The deal would save hundreds of shops and thousands of jobsCredit: Getty

Doug Putman who owns Toys R Us Canada and HMV UK has been holding detailed talks with Wilko’s administrators at PwC, according to The Times.

Putman’s offer is said to involve keeping about half the discount retailer’s 400 shops and 3,000 to 4,000 of its 12,500 workers.

He’s also said that he would continue to run these stores under the Wilko brand.

A source close to the process said that discussions were still ongoing with Mr Putman about a potential full rescue of Wilko.

Administrators are still considering other offers. 

The Canadian billionaire rescued HMV out of administration in February 2019 in a move that saved over 100 stores and 1,500 jobs.

The news comes just a day after it was revealed that Poundland and B&M are also reportedly in talks to buy some of Wilko’s stores.

PwC was forced to deny claims by GMB Union that stores could close as early as next week.

The administrators are still in advanced talks with a number of rival chains, with Poundland’s owner, Pepco Group, said to be looking at taking on 100 Wilko stores, reports Sky News.

B&M European Retail is also in negotiations to purchase between 40 and 50 shops, according to one insider.

Sky News also reported last night that The Original Factory Shop (TOFS) and other value retailers have lodged offers to acquire a smaller number of sites.

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Rival chain The Range is also still in the auction process, according to sources.

But even if any agreements with Putman, Pepco, B&M and TOFS are finalised, it is likely to mean that some Wilko stores will still be forced to shut for good.

Joint administrators, Jane Steer, Zelf Hussain and Edward Williams of PwC, said last night: “Since our appointment as administrators of Wilko we have held extensive discussions with parties who expressed an interest in buying all or part of the business.

“While discussions continue with those interested in buying parts of the business, it’s clear that the nature of this interest is not focused on the whole Group.

“Sadly, it is therefore likely that there will be redundancies and store closures in the future and it has today been necessary to update employee representatives”

“We know this will further add to the uncertainty felt by workers.

“We will be supporting staff through this deeply unsettling time, working closely with the government, Jobcentre plus, unions and large employers to maximise possibilities for a rapid return to work for employees in the event of redundancies.

“In the immediate term, all stores remain open, continue to trade and staff continue to be paid.

“Contrary to speculation, there are currently no plans to close any stores next week.”

Several rival chains have told staff at the struggling company that jobs are available to them.

Discount supermarket Aldi has asked that any workers affected by the collapse of Wilko to get in touch about jobs.

Earlier this month rival chains Home Bargains and Dunelm also offered devastated staff new roles after the retailer collapsed.

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Discount stationery shop The Works said it would “guarantee an interview if there’s a role available” for all Wilko staff.

Wilko staff have today made a desperate request to shoppers in response to speculation over stores closing.

Categories: Optical Illusion
Source: HIS Education

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