In a significant development in the retail sector, B&M has stepped in to rescue a portion of struggling high street chain Wilko. Following the collapse of Wilko’s bid to secure its future, B&M has agreed to acquire 51 of Wilko’s 400 stores, marking a deal valued at £13 million.
Wilko, a long-standing high street presence, had been under the ownership of its founding family for decades and had provided employment for approximately 12,500 individuals before facing the need to call in administrators.
Jane Steer, one of the joint administrators, expressed their commitment to supporting Wilko’s staff during this challenging transition period. They emphasized the focus on assisting affected team members with immediate redundancy claims processing to facilitate a swift return to employment.
B&M, a prominent retail group operating over 1,150 stores in the UK and France under the B&M and Heron brands, has come forward as a savior for several Wilko locations. The majority of these rescued stores are expected to undergo rebranding as B&M outlets.
The £13 million required for this acquisition will be entirely funded from B&M’s existing cash reserves. Importantly, the deal is not anticipated to be contingent upon regulatory clearances. A precise timeline for the opening of these new stores is expected to be disclosed in the H1 interim results announcement scheduled for November 9.
The agreement between B&M and the administrators of Wilko represents a pivotal moment in the retail landscape. While challenges persist for the retail sector, this move underscores the resilience and adaptability of industry players in the face of adversity.