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Discount retailer The Range ‘strikes a deal’ to save Wilko brand as PM makes pledge to workers

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

Retail company The Range has swooped in to take over the brand name of stricken budget store Wilko, according to reports.

The deal is understood to be worth £5m but does not mean any more jobs will be saved or vacant stores purchased.

Reports from Sky News suggest the rapidly growing company, with 200 stores nationwide, will be confirmed as the new owners of the Wilko brand name by administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

It has been a tumultuous month for Wilko. Its workers looking for clarity on their future would see unsuccessful takeovers, scamming incidents and store closures all happen in the space of six weeks.

Rishi Sunak ‘ready to support’ Wilko workers

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Rishi Sunak was quizzed by fellow Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith about the Government’s commitment to helping employees who’ve been made redundant.

The PM replied: “Some of the topics that he raised will be commercial matters for the company, but I know this is a concerning time for workers at Wilko.

“The Business Secretary (Kemi Badenoch) is keeping close to developments, and we have already started supporting those who have been made redundant and we stand ready to support others to fullest of our abilities.”

A deal by HMV owner Doug Putman to rescue the 90-year-old budget chain fell through on Monday and 12,500 employees were expected to lose their jobs.

The Canadian billionaire announced: “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.”

However, Pepco Group, the parent company of budget store giants Poundland, purchased 71 out of the 400 nationwide stores yesterday and Poundland’s managing director Barry Williams said he “looks forward to offering [Wilko employees] opportunities to join our family.”

That agreement will see the stores reopen for the last three months of the year and will add to the 51 shops taken over by B&M European Value Retail S.A.