The Range snaps up recently-collapsed Wilko brand in £5m deal - but stores will still vanish from high street
Wilko fell into administration in August after grappling with sharp losses and a cash shortage.
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The Range has struck a £5m deal to buy the Wilko brand after a rescue bid for the wider business collapsed. It means The Range will own Wilko’s website and may choose to stock some of its products across its 210 UK stores.
It is understood that 36 Wilko staff have transferred over to The Range, which expects online operations to restart next month. But the the deal will not prevent Wilko shops disappearing from the UK high street and nearly all of the company’s 12,500 staff will lose their jobs.
After administrators were unable to find a buyer for the whole business, Wilko’s rivals have been snapping up parts of the company. On Tuesday (September 12), the owner of Poundland agreed a deal to take on the leases of “up to” 71 Wilko shops, which will reopen under its own brand.
Another rival retailer B&M has also agreed to buy 51 of Wilko’s shops in a £13m deal. It means some staff could be re-employed in these stores as a result.
Jane Steer, one of the PwC administrators, said Wilko “remains a much loved and trusted brand within the UK”, adding that deal with The Range means “the Wilko name lives on”. The firm’s chief executive, Alex Simpkin, said The Range was “delighted” to have bought the Wilko brand, which “comes at a time when consumers are more than ever wanting to shop with confidence for value and quality”.
Wilko was founded in 1930 and was a high street staple up and down the country, particularly during the pandemic and cost of living crisis as shoppers have been increasingly on the hunt for bargains. The firm fell into administration in August after grappling with a cash shortage and sharp losses.
It was hoped that billionaire owner of HMV, Doug Putman, would keep as many as 300 Wilko shops open - but his rescue bid fell through and no other bidders were interested in running the shops under the Wilko name.