Wilko deal collapses leaving fresh uncertainty for Bedford stores

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Hopes that Bedford’s two Wilko stores could be saved thanks to a rescue package by the owner of HMV could be dashed as the latest deal has fallen through.

Canadian billionaire, Doug Putman, had been in talks to save up to 200 of the remaining Wilko stores, potentially saving thousands of jobs. However, debts to suppliers threw the deal into jeopardy.

Quoted in The Guardian, 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.”

“We had financing in place and received the full support of [the administrators] PWC, Wilko management and staff representatives, which we are deeply thankful for considering what a challenging time it has been for them,” Putman said.

“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.”

Wilko’s store on Bedford High Street is advertising huge discounts in its ‘administration sale’ and supplier issues are evident as large areas of the shelves and shopfloor are empty.

However, there could still be a lifeline for the stores.

PwC says it is still in talks with Poundland, Home Bargains and The Range with the possibility of saving some of the at-risk stores.

 
 
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