At the eleventh hour Poundland owner Pepco has agreed to buy 71 Wilko stores and the company has said that they will “prioritise” existing workers.
Pepco has sealed the deal with PwC administrators which will be reopened under the Poundland brand.
The new lease agreements are thought to be completed in “early autumn” and are looking to open the stores by the end of the year.
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Poundland managing director Barry Williams said, “In the coming weeks we will work quickly with landlords so we can open these stores as Poundland’s with the new ranges that have been pivotal to our recent development.
“And once that process is complete, we will ensure a significant number of the Wilko colleagues will join our Poundland team.
“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.”
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.”
Last month the family-owned company which employed 12,500 staff and had 400 shops went into administration due to weak consumer demand.
The GMB Union blasted Wilko bosses of running the business “into the ground” and the administration of the company is a “tragedy without a cause.”
Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said on Monday, “This isn’t a tragedy without cause. Wilko should have thrived in a bargain retail sector that is otherwise strong, but it was run into the ground by the business owners.
“Money was siphoned out of the business for dividends, warnings about what needed to be done to save the business were not heeded and advice around what the business had to do to thrive was not listened to.
“No worker caused the downfall of Wilko. But they will be the ones who will suffer – all as the owners get off scot-free.