Home Business Hopes fade for Wilko rescue deal as administration looms

Hopes fade for Wilko rescue deal as administration looms

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Wilko, which was founded in 1930, is likely to fall into administration later on Thursday, putting around 12,000 retail sector jobs at risk, Sky News understands.
City editor
Thursday 10 August 2023 10:35, UK
Hopes of a rescue deal for Wilko were fading on Thursday morning as it emerged that the ailing homewares retailer was heading into insolvency within hours.
Sky News has learnt that Wilko’s board is expected to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as administrator later today after talks with a number of potential rescuers stalled.
The move would exacerbate the risk to 12,000 jobs, which would make the family-owned chain one of the biggest retail casualties for years.
One source described administration on Thursday as „inevitable” barring the sudden emergence of a new rescue plan.
The threat of insolvency has been hanging over Wilko for weeks, and intensified last Thursday when the company filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, giving it 10 working days of protection from creditors.
Earlier this week, Sky News revealed that Gordon Brothers, Alteri Investors and Opcapita had been examining offers for the company, some of which would have kept it out of administration.
Those hopes have now receded, meaning PwC will run a further sale process in administration or – if that fails – a liquidation of the 93 year-old chain.
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Wilko has now suspended home deliveries amid the scramble for its future.
The company trades from 400 stores, making it one of the biggest privately owned retailers in Britain.
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Like many high street retailers, it has been hit by inflationary pressures and supply chain challenges.
In recent months, it had been seeking to finalise a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – a mechanism that would trigger steep rent cuts at hundreds of stores but avoid any closures.
Wilko, which has been owned by the Wilkinson family since it was established, declined to comment on Thursday morning.
Mark Jackson, Wilko chief executive, said recently: „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.”
Late last month, a spokesman for Wilko described talk of administration as „unfounded”.
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