- B&M Acquires 51 Wilko Stores, Employee Retention Uncertain
- Rescue Deal for Majority of Wilko’s 400 Stores and 12,500 Employees Fading
- B&M Pays £13 Million for Wilko Stores, Aims for Reopening Within Weeks
Wilko’s administrators sold 51 locations to B&M, but the cheap retailer hasn’t decided whether to keep workers.
Fewer expected a rescue agreement that included most of the chain’s 400 locations and 12,500 employees.
As a result of discussions with Wilko’s suppliers, it was believed that HMV’s proprietor, Doug Putman, was now targeting 200 sites instead of the 300 for which he had initially arranged financing.
Continuing discussions with Wilko’s joint administrators at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
“The likelihood of a deal to prevent mass layoffs is diminishing,” Kleinman cautioned.
Regarding the B&M announcement, he stated, “PwC would not have struck this deal if the broader rescue deal with Doug Putman was on track, and as far as I can tell, that deal is now being radically reshaped.”
B&M European Value Retail told the stock exchange it paid £13 million for 51 stores.
It failed to disclose the locations.
“The purchase price is fully funded by existing cash reserves, and regulatory approvals are not anticipated to be a condition of the acquisition,” B&M stated.
“An update on the timing of these new store openings will be provided in the… interim financial results announcement on November 9, 2023.”
The administrators have spent weeks negotiating a store division with multiple stakeholders.
The Wilkinson family’s 1930 chain closed last month owing to a lack of new capital.
It, like many other high street retailers, had been affected by inflationary pressures and supply chain issues.
Susannah Streeter, director of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, commented on the partial rescue deal. When Wilko collapsed, B&M gained, as the successful value retailer had expressed its ambition to create more UK outlets.
The soon-to-be vacant properties were ripe pickings for B&M, and the retailer has likely been extremely selective when selecting locations.