The Wilko store in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Stand Up For Southport

The Wilko shop in Southport will become a new Poundland. 

The store, in the concourse of Southport Train Station, is one of 71 being rescued by the value retailer. 

Poundland boss Barry Williams said it recognised the last few weeks had been difficult for Wilko workers.

In a statement, the company said that Wilko staff would have priority when applying for new jobs at the Poundland shops.

Mr Williams, the managing director of Poundland, said the company would work quickly with landlords in the coming weeks to get its new shops open once the administration process is wound up.

He said that the announcement would mark some “positive news for customers and those High Streets that faced the loss of an important retailer”.

The Poundland owner said that he expected the rebranded shops to open by the end of this year, although workers will not be transferred directly.

The 71 shops included in the deal with Poundland and a further 51 stores being taken on by B&M currently employ about 3,200 Wilko workers.

The Joint Administrators announce today that they have entered into an agreement to provide Pepco Group with the option to acquire up to 71 sites to be opened as Poundland stores, after the administration trading period concludes at those sites.

Edward Williams, joint administrator, said:
“Alongside the previously announced agreement with B&M, we’re confident this sale will create a platform for future employment opportunities for people including current wilko team members at up to 122 locations.

“We will continue to engage with other retailers around any interest in other Wilko sites and are confident of completing a sale
of the brand and intellectual property within the coming days.”

Poundland has undergone a big transformation in recent years, adding chilled and frozen food as well as Pep clothes to its offer.

Wilko fell into administration in August as it struggled with sharp losses and a cash shortage.

It was founded in 1930 and by the 1990s became one of Britain’s fastest-growing retailers.

But the discount chain has faced strong competition from competitors including Poundland, B&M and Home Bargains, as the high cost of living has pushed shoppers to seek out bargains.

Not all Wilko stores have been able to be saved in the UK. 

A total of 24 sites, including those in Liverpool, Cardiff, Acton and Falmouth, are among 24 branches to shut today, with a further 28 closing on Thursday.

It marks the beginning of the end of the Wilko brand on the High Street.

Many Wilko shops are in High Street locations in traditional town centres. While these locations are convenient for shoppers without cars, since the pandemic there has been a shift to bigger retail parks and out-of-town options with more space, benefiting other shops.

The deal will see the Wilko sites added to its 800 existing shops in the UK.

Which Wilko stores are Poundland taking on?

The 71 store locations are:

Aberdare, Alfreton, Alnwick, Altrincham, Ammanford, Ashby, Barking, Bedminster, Beeston, Bicester, Bishop Stortford, Bletchley, Bolton, Brentwood, Brigg, Cambridge, Chepstow, Coalville, Cramlington, Droitwich, Eccles, Edmonton Green, Ellesmere Port, Ferndown, Gateshead, Grays, Greenock, Grimsby, Havant, Hayes, Headingley, Hessle Road – Hull, Hillsborough, Hitchin, Jarrow, Killingworth, Kimberley, Lee Circle, Leek, Leigh, Lichfield, Maidenhead, Matlock, Melton Mowbray, Nelson, Northallerton, Orton, Pembroke Dock, Peterlee, Pontefract, Pontypool, Redhill, Redruth, Ripley, Rugeley, Sale, Seaham, Selly Oak, Shrewsbury Darwin Centre, South Shields, Southport, Stafford, Stamford, Stockport, Thornaby, Wellington, Wembley, West Ealing, Wombwell, Worcester and Worksop, where Wilko’s head office is located.

Earlier this week, Wilko’s administrators said the group’s remaining workers in its shops, warehouse and support centres were set to lose their jobs after a rescue bid by Canadian entrepreneur Doug Putman failed.

The billionaire owner of music retailer HMV had been trying to buy at least 100 Wilko shops but the deal fell through as rising costs complicated the deal.

Several other retailers and investors have reportedly been in talks with PwC about potentially buying the Wilko brand and website.


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