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B&M acquires 51 stores from collapsed Wilko

B&M has not said which stores it has bought

Discount retailer B&M has acquired 51 former Wilko stores from the administrator for £13m but has not confirmed whether ex-employees will be taken on.

The location of the retained shops has not been disclosed but they will be rebranded under B&M’s name as the new owner did not acquire Wilko’s brand or any of its intellectual property.

Of the remaining 350+ stores 52 will close and 1,016 staff based at these sites will be made redundant, along with a further 299 at the two distribution centres in Worksop and Newport. Two of the stores closing next week are in Clydebank and Irvine and affect 38 employees. The company had 12 stores in Scotland.

It is understood that HMV owner Doug Putman remains interested in 200 sites, instead of the 300 he had initially targeted. Negotiations with Wilko’s joint administrators at PwC are continuing.

Speaking about today’s deal, B&M said: “The consideration is fully funded from existing cash reserves and the acquisition is not expected to be conditional on any regulatory clearances.

“An update on the timing of these new store openings will be provided in the… interim results announcement on 9 November 2023.”

Wilko was established by the Wilkinson family in 1930, but collapsed last month following a failure to find new investment.

It is reportedly in £40m debt to Hilco and needs at least another £20m for ordering new stock.

Tania Clench, legal director in the restructuring and insolvency team at Cripps, said: “Despite today’s deal, the future of the remaining Wilko stores (350+) still remains in doubt, meaning thousands of high street workers still face losing their jobs, and unsecured creditors still don’t know where they stand. 

“The dialogue with Doug Putman appears still to be ongoing, but it looks like if that deal is to be reached, fewer stores than originally anticipated will be acquired.”

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