A LAST gasp effort to by the owner of HMV to save the 93-year-old retailer Wilko has failed.
Doug Putman, a Canadian entrepreneur, was Wilko’s last chance of survival but rising running costs have dashed rescue hopes.
Mr Putman said: “It is with great disappointment that we can no longer continue in the purchase process for Wilko having worked with administrators and suppliers over several weeks to seek a viable way to rescue it as a going concern.”
Sources said that they “had tried very hard to make it work but it had been just too difficult with running costs and suppliers, it was always going to be a challenge”.
Mr Putman confirmed that he had funds in place to buy around 200 Wilko stores and keep the brand name on the high street.
But it is understood that the retailer’s old legacy supply chain would have been too costly to replace and move to a new system.
Mr Putman said: “We had financing in place and received the full support of PWC, Wilko management and staff representatives, which we are deeply thankful for considering what a challenging time it has been for them.
“However, commitment to overhauling the trading framework of the business with partners and the costs of running Wilko’s legacy operations infrastructure combined has meant that a stable foundation could not be secured to ensure long term success for the business and its people in the way that we would have wanted.”
Administrators at PwC will now talk to rival retailers about bids for parcels of Wilko’s stores.
However, buying Wilko’s stores will not necessarily save jobs as it may be limited to purchasing only the properties.
B&M Bargains last week agreed a deal to buy up to 51 stores for £13 million that sis not include taking on staff and they will become B&M stores.
The Range, Poundland, Home Bargains have all expressed interest in taking on some stores.
According to source, Poundland is considering buying just over 70 Wilko stores, although the details are being finalised.
Meanwhile, sources say The Range remains in talks to buy Wilko’s brand name but the retailer is unexpected to take on any stores.
The Range, owned by Plymouth-based tycoon Chris Dawson, typically operates from out-of-town retail parks.
A total of 52 sites will start shutting their doors for good this week, with more than 1,000 jobs being axed.
Twenty-four branches will shut tomorrow followed by a further 28 stores two days later on Thursday.
Each of the stores will close for the final time at the end of the working day.
These shop closures alone will result in 1,016 job losses across the retail staff.
Further redundancies were also made last week including 229 roles at two distribution centres.
Announcing the closures last week, administrators thanked staff for their support and said they “remain committed” to helping those affected.
The first wave of job cuts took place early last week, with a total of 269 support centre team member roles being axed at its Worksop site.
Another 14 jobs at Kin Limited, a subsidiary of Wilko, have also been cut after it too fell into administration.
It brings the total jobs lost so far to more than 1,500.
Wilko collapsed on August 10 after the struggling retailer failed to find new backing for the business.
The company borrowed £40million in 2022 from Hilco as well as cutting jobs and restructuring the leadership of the business.
Wilko’s collapse is a “massive blow” to the retail sector and staff, but some experts say “the clock has been ticking” for a while.
Chief executive officer, Mark Jackson, previously said the company had “left no stone unturned” in a bid to save the chain.
In an emotional open letter to all staff and heartbroken shoppers, Mr Jackson thanked them for their support.
Meanwhile, retail experts have revealed what went wrong with Wilko ahead of the store closures this week.
Plus, for a complete history of the brand and its founder, see our story.
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