Wilko brand to live on – and some jobs saved – as The Range strikes deal


Wilko brand to live on - and some jobs saved - as The Range strikes deal

The brand of collapsed value retailer Wilko is to live on, it has been confirmed, and some job losses have been prevented through a deal struck by administrators.

Rival discount chain The Range has bought the Wilko brand, its website and retained the company’s digital trading team which comprises 36 members of staff.

The sum was not disclosed but Sky News had reported on Wednesday how The Range was believed to be paying £5m for the brand.

The company, which has 213 stores across the UK trading under The Range name, added that it planned to bring back the Wilko name to high streets but did not give further details.

It is the latest in a series of transactions signed by administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as more than 10,000 job losses loom at Wilko following its collapse four weeks ago.

While 120 stores – more than a quarter of Wilko’s estate – have been sold to B&M European Value Retail and Poundland’s owner, it remains unclear whether any staff working at those stores will be transferred to their new owners.

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Wilko brand to live on - and some jobs saved - as The Range strikes deal

Doug Putman, the HMV owner, pulled out of a deal to salvage as many as 300 shops after his financing was cancelled.

Prior to the collapse of that transaction, PwC had already announced about 1,600 redundancies since the family-owned chain crashed into insolvency last month.

Wilko – owned by the founding Wilkinson family for decades – had been seeking external investment for months prior to its collapse.

Wilko brand to live on - and some jobs saved - as The Range strikes deal

“The Range has started work on its plan to build on the great success of the Wilko online business,” its statement said.

“It is envisaged that the wilko.com website will be up and running very soon, offering UK consumers the great value that they are used to, when shopping online at Wilko.”

Its founder and chairman, Chris Dawson, added: “These are exciting times for The Range Group, I am delighted that Wilko will join our family of companies.

“We will drive it forward as fast as we can as we expand the entire business from our continuing store opening programme to our new 1.2 million square foot distribution centre that is being constructed in the South of England.”

Jane Steer, joint administrator, said of the latest sale: “Since our appointment, the feedback from customers and wider stakeholders during this challenging period has reinforced the fact that Wilko remains a much loved and trusted brand within the UK.

“This sale to The Range will ensure that the Wilko name lives on under their ownership and we wish The Range every success.”


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