Further 9,100 Wilko employees to be made redundant after rescue deal collapses, administrators say

A further 9,100 Wilko employees will be made redundant by early October, administrators have said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) failed to reach a deal to save any significant part of the retailer after it went into administration.

“It is anticipated that all stores will be closed by early October, resulting in the redundancies of a further 9,100 employees in those stores,” PwC said.

The company previously announced around 1,600 redundancies at Wilko and confirmed that 52 stores would shut this week after it failed to find a buyer for them.

Earlier, Sky News reported 400 branches of the collapsed retailer would close by early October with the “likely” loss of all 12,500 jobs at the chain, according to the GMB.

GMB boss Gary Smith told Sky News’ Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge that Wilko would cost the taxpayer “tens and tens of millions of pounds” – and that a quarter of the Wilko workers won’t get redundancy pay.

He added the law prioritises creditors over job protection, which has led to this situation.

Mr Smith claimed that due to the lack of proper consultation and the resulting redundancies “the taxpayer is going to pick up the bill” for costs related to redundancy payments, failure to consult, and potential notice pay, amounting to tens of millions of pounds.

B&M European Value Retail has already agreed to buy 51 Wilko stores which are set to be rebranded. It is unclear if the discount chain will keep on or rehire any of the Wilko staff at the branches.

Zelf Hussain, joint administrator at PwC, said: “Despite the significant and intensive efforts of both ourselves and Putman Investments – the remaining party interested in buying a significant part of the business as a going concern – a transaction could not be progressed due to the inability to reduce central infrastructure costs quickly enough to make a deal commercially viable.

“The dedication shown by all team members during this period has been hugely humbling and we are grateful for the patience and understanding they have shown.

“As with those who have already been given notice of redundancy, we will guide and support those team members impacted over the coming weeks through the redundancy claims process.

“We also continue to collaborate closely with relevant agencies and engage with any potential employers to help facilitate a quick return into new employment for those impacted.

“We continue to work with potential buyers for different parts of the business and are confident of completing transactions in the coming days.”

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