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Wilko employees to be offered jobs as Poundland purchases 71 stores

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek

Many employees of Wilko could keep their jobs after Poundland stepped in to take on around a quarter of the beleaguered retailers’ stores.

Poundland’s parent company, Pepco Group, announced today it had reached an agreement with Wilko’s administrators’ PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to acquire the leases of 71 stores across the UK.

Yesterday, 12,500 Wilko employees found out they’d be losing their jobs after a last-minute deal to save the company collapsed. However, there will be a lifeline for some of them to continue working as part of the rebranded shops.

In a statement, Andy Bond, executive chairman of Pepco Group, said: “The agreement to take control of a number of Wilko store leases will help to bring Poundland’s fantastic prices and offer to even more customers in the UK.

“It will be pleasing to offer employment to a number of Wilko’s colleagues, who will benefit from being part of a successful and fast-growing pan-European variety discount group.”

He added: “Pepco Group is well placed for future success across Europe, supported by its market-leading customer proposition, strong balance sheet and impressive cash flow. The group’s strategy to become a bigger, better, cheaper and simpler business will enable it to continue to providing families on a budget with great range, value and convenience for many years to come.”

Poundland’s acquired stores to reopen in time for ‘final quarter of 2023’

The rival budget chain announced the paperwork to acquire the vacant stores will be completed “in early Autumn” which means it will be able to reopen in time for the final three months of the year.

Poundland already boasts more than 800 shops across the UK and managing director Barry Williams “looks forward to offering [Wilko employees] opportunities to join our family”, according to the Evening Standard.

Speaking to newspaper, he said: “We recognise the last few weeks have been difficult for them and we will move quickly to secure new consents from landlords so we can offer them the certainty they deserve.”

Wilko went into administration in early August and despite interest in the business from HMV owner Doug Putman, he announced the deal would not be going ahead as Wilko’s long-term success “could not be secured”.

That meant 400 stores are set to close by early October, with B&M European Value Retail S.A having already purchased up to 51 properties that will be rebranded into B&M stores.