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Wilko enters administration – what customers need to know

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

Troubled retailer Wilko, which has 400 shops and employs 12,000 people, is in administration, hours after it stopped its online ordering service.

The budget retailer had been trying to find a new source of funding after last week it said it had made the “difficult decision” to file notice of intent to appoint administrators.

Today it has entered into administration, with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) appointed for the process, as confirmed in an open letter by Mark Jackson, Wilko’s CEO. All of its 12,000 staff members now face the risk of losing their jobs.

He said: “Over the past six months, we’ve been open with all our stakeholders including our team members that we’ve been considering options to accelerate a turnaround plan given that we needed to make significant changes to the way we operate to restore confidence and stabilise our business. We left no stone unturned when it came to preserving this incredible business but must concede that with regret, we’ve no choice but to take the difficult decision to enter into administration.

“I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of the directors and the Wilkinson family to thank all of our customers and our hardworking team members across our stores, logistics and support centre who remained loyal to Wilko. It’s been an honour to have worked alongside you all as we fought to realise and to maximise the significant opportunities that existed to re-establish a profitable Wilko.”

The budget homeware chain was founded in Leicester in the 1930s and took over many of the shops left when Woolworths collapsed in 2009.

The news comes hours after online orders for home delivery were stopped and giving customers only the option of shopping in a store or through the click and collect service.

Wilko and its adviser, PricewaterhouseCoopers, had until Monday to find a new buyer but despite interest from a few different parties, no alternative was found.

Several groups had expressed an interest in buying the budget retailer including Gordon Brothers, which owns Laura Ashley, Hildo, which owns Homebase, and Alteri, which owns Bensons for Beds.

The last big chain to collapse was McColls last year which had more than 1,000 shops and employed around 16,000 staff. It was then rescued by Morrisons.

Refunds and returns

It is now the job of PWC to let creditors of Wilko, including customers, know how to get their money back. This is usually done by submitting a claim as a creditor with PWC.

This applies to anyone who needs to return an item, those with gift vouchers, and those with outstanding contracts such as warranties or faulty items which need returning or repairing.

In previous cases of firms going into administration this has been a lengthy process and it’s usually not guaranteed that all outstanding money is returned.

We have asked PWC to confirm what the process will be for customers and we will update this article when we have the information.