British non-food discounter Wilko is beyond saving: the bankrupt chain is disappearing from the high streets after an ultimate attempt by HMV owner Doug Putman to save 300 shops failed.
All 400 shops will close and the 12,500 employees will lose their jobs in the very near future. The retailer filed for bankruptcy in August, after which a search for potential acquirers began. In the end, however, no one stepped up to keep the Wilko brand name.
Putman had hoped to keep 300 branches open, but his bid failed as costs rose beyond control. Competitor B&M does take over 51 branches to transform them into its own formula, Poundland is interested in up to seventy shops, according to the BBC.
Wilko was finding it increasingly difficult to compete with chains such as Poundland, The Range and Home Bargains, while the chain was also traditionally found in more expensive inner-city locations, which in the United Kingdom suffer badly from high vacancy rates. The family-run business was struggling with mounting cash shortages, rigid contracts and had already borrowed millions from restructuring specialist Hilco.
Putman said he had spent weeks working with creditors and suppliers to find a viable way to save the company and that failing to do so was “a big disappointment”. After the bankruptcy of British department store chain Woolworths in 2008, Wilko jumped into the hole left behind, but now suffers the same fate.