Iconic high street store on brink of administration putting 12,000 jobs and 400 stores at risk

Winchester high street

Winchester high street

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 03/08/2023

- 12:23

Updated: 03/08/2023

- 13:42

The bargain retailer's decision to file a notice of intent to appoint administrators could put thousands of jobs at risk

An iconic high street store is on the brink of crashing into administration as 12,000 jobs and 400 stores are now at risk.

The bargain retailer Wilko has filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators.

Wilko chief executive Mark Jackson said: “While we can confirm we’ve had a significant level of interest, including indicative offers that we believe would meet all our financial criteria to recapitalise the business, at present, we don’t today have an offer that provides the necessary liquidity in the time we have available, given the mounting cash pressures we’re faced with.

“Unfortunately, with this in mind, today we’re having to take the difficult decision to file an NOI.”

A Wilko store signA Wilko store signPA

The bargain retailer is being advised by professional services company PwC.

Property agents CBRE had been brought on board to negotiate with landlords.

Wilko, which was founded in Leicester in 1930, was exploring the sale of a controlling stake just last month.

It previously announced plans to close more than a dozen stores in January last year.

Wilko, Kings Mall, Hammersmith 02Wilko, Kings Mall, Hammersmith 02Wikimedia Commons Licences

A total of 400 jobs were put at risk in February when the bargain retailer unveiled its latest restructuring plan.

Wilko is now putting 400 stores and 12,000 jobs at risk by filing a notice of intent.

A notice of intention protects businesses from creditors for 10 days in an attempt for the company to secure its finances.

The notice, handed to the High Court today, does not necessarily mean administrators will be appointed.

An image of shoppers on the high streetAn image of shoppers on the high streetPA

Jackson said that the business would continue to hold discussions with interested parties and would aim to secure its future “as fast as possible”.

He added: "We continue to believe that our robust turnaround plan, with significant re-stabilisation cost savings in progress, will deliver a profitable Wilko and maximise the significant opportunities that we know exist."

Wilko CEO confirmed the retailer was struggling to find a buyer which provided the "necessary liquidty".

He also stressed the staple high street store had no other option.

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