London: Troubled UK budget retailer Wilko has called administrators, putting more than 12,000 jobs at risk after it failed to agree a rescue deal, a media report said.
The family-owned household and garden products retailer, which has about 400 stores, is expected to have to close dozens of outlets, leaving big gaps on high streets after weeks of talks with interested parties, The Guardian reported.
Mark Jackson, the Chief Executive of Wilko, said: “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.“We’ve all fought hard to keep this incredible business intact but must concede that time has run out and now, we must do what’s best to preserve as many jobs as possible, for as long as is possible, by working with our appointed administrators.”
Wilko had received “a significant level of interest, including indicative offers that we believe would meet all our financial criteria to recapitalise the business”, said Jackson, but it had not been able to finalise these in time to save the business, The Guardian reported.Jackson said talks had failed despite Wilko making a number of cost-cutting measures, which he claimed would have resulted in “the most profitable Wilko ever recorded within 24 months”.
Nadine Houghton, national officer for the GMB union, which represents thousands of workers at Wilko, accused the firm’s management of allowing the retailer to lose its place in the market by failing to invest in technology for home shopping and other improvements while “much-needed cash was taken out of the business by the Wilkinson family when it was struggling”, The Guardian reported.